Home-court advantage strong for women's tennis

The Eastern Michigan University women’s tennis team did not lose a match Friday as it defeated Wright State University, 7-0, at the Chippewa Club in Ypsilanti.

The Eagles continued their strong outing at home, blanking their visiting opponent for the third-straight home victory against non-conference foes.

EMU coach Ryan Ray said, “It’s always nice not to travel, and to be in comfortable surroundings.”
For the Eagles this couldn’t be more true. The Raiders, from Dayton, Ohio, didn’t get anything easy dropping only one set in singles play.

EMU freshman Mariya Toncheva had the match of the day with her comeback win against Kenisha 5-7, 7-6(6), 10-2. It was also the final match of the day.

“Mariya played a strong game,” Ray said. “She got an early lead in both sets. Then, it got a little bit tight when the opponent picked up her game, but the fact that she endured and pulled off the victory shows a lot more.”

In doubles play, the match started to go bad for the Raiders. Junior Miriam Westerink and freshman Nino Mebuke took the No. 1 doubles match by a score of 8-0, while senior Xu Chang and junior Georgia de’Lisle-Tarr won their No. 3 match 8-1.

“This win was a little more comforting,” Ray said. “The conference is full of good teams. Winning here gives us a little boost, but we will still need a strong effort once MAC play comes around.”

In singles play, EMU’s top three went to work. All but one finished their match in straight sets. Mebuke started the trend for the Eagles, defeating Masha Peresetsky in straight sets, 6-2, 6-1, in the No. 2 singles match. Chang was also victorious in straight sets defeating her opponent, 6-1, 6-1 at No. 3. Westerink did the same defeating Kayla Tuscany 6-3, 6-2, at No. 1 singles.

On the other courts, junior Marcelo Rivero defeated her No. 5 opponent in straight sets as well, 6-1, 6-2, while de’Lisle-Tarr defeated Chelsea Girgash; 6-1, 6-2, in the No. 6 match.

“Winning 7-0 shows a lot mentally,” Ray said. “Confidence-wise this was a good win for us. To have won three straight 7-0 wins helps us realize we can win matches in any situation.”

That is what needs to be done if the Eagles look to do well in the MAC championships, which is to be held this year at the Chippewa Club starting April 28.

The Eagles picked up their fourth victory at home, and have yet to lose at home this season in non-conference play. However, away from the Chippewa Club, it is a whole different story for EMU. EMU is winless on the road, 0-3, with a combined record of 4-3.

“We enjoy the environment here at the Chippewa Club,” Ray said. “Our schedule is easier at home than on the road.”

All of the Eagles’ home games this season have been 7-0 shutouts, with wins over Oakland University, University of Detroit Mercy, Morehead State University, and the recent win over Wright State University.

EMU traveled to East Lansing Sunday to face Michigan State, looking for its first road victory on the season. Results for Sunday’s match will be available at www.easternecho.com.

The Eagles next match comes on the road at 12:30 p.m. Feb. 11, against the Creighton Blue Jays in Omaha, Neb.

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