The Missouri State tennis team started play in the Missouri Valley Conference tournament with a 4-3 win against No. 5.
“A No. 4-No. 5 match with us and Drake is always going to be a close match and a battle,” head coach Mallory Weber said. “We came out and played really well to start the tournament.”
Drake swept the doubles matches and earned an early singles point to go up 2-0 against the Bears.
Points were then earned by freshman Anna Alons and MVC All Conference sophomore Ellie Burger. The Bears then went up by one (3-2) when freshman Clara Gandara Gonzalez took down her singles opponent.
“We had to battle some tough weather conditions and really did a good job of getting through the match,” Weber said.
Drake tied it up with another singles win, but the win was secured by senior Fati Khamissi in a tiebreaker singles match to send the Bears to the semifinals against No. 1 Stony Brook.
“It’s always good to get out of the quarter final,” Weber said.
Stony Brook followed suit with Drake and won two early doubles matches, earning a point.
“We came out very strong,” Weber said. “I think it was one of the most complete matches we played this year.”
Of the six singles matches, half of them progressed to three sets. Alons, Khamissi and Burger led in their respective matches, but were unable to finish with a win.
“Fati and Ellie have both been very solid for us the entire way,” Weber said. “Ellie went undefeated through the conference season and Fati clinched the match for us against Drake.”
Weber was also impressed with the performance of Alons.
“She stepped up into a pretty challenging role and was also up and winning in her matches,” Weber said.
The Seawolves shut out the Bears 4-0, advancing to the championship round of the MVC tournament where they lost 4-3 to Illinois State.
“Even though we lost that match 4-0, we were about to win on three of the courts and we had one that was in a tiebreaker that we just couldn’t get through,” Weber said.
The Bears will graduate only two seniors, Khamissi and Phoebe Boeschen, on their ten-person roster.
“This team was very unique in fact that we were very deep talent wise,” Weber said. “The fact that we get all of that back and they have another year under their belt, I think that’s very exciting.”