Both MSU tennis teams clinch LSC titles

MSU tennis coach Scott Linn talks over strategy during the Mustangs' match against UTPB Friday / Source: KAUZ
MSU tennis coach Scott Linn talks over strategy during the Mustangs' match against UTPB Friday / Source: KAUZ

Men take 1st conference crown since 2002

The 18th-ranked MSU Texas men's tennis team claimed its third overall and first Lone Star Conference regular season championship since 2002 with an 8-1 victory over 41st-ranked UT Permian Basin. Midwestern State joins the 2001 and 2002 squads with an unblemished record in league play.

With the win, the Mustangs improve to 18-5 overall and secured the No. 1 seed at the Lone Star Conference Championships in Corpus Christi next Friday and Saturday.

"It's a credit to the players and the staff around this program, the assistant coaches, the strength training coaches, the athletic trainers, but especially the players," MSU Head Coach Scott Linn said. "They're the ones who come in during the summer and train. They're the ones who get up at 6 a.m. in the fall. They're the ones that work tirelessly in practice. They're the ones that travel all over the country with us playing matches. I'm very proud for all that hard work to pay off for them."

"It's the first time in 16 years. There have been some great players to come through here. Coach Larry Wiggins had some really good teams. I'm proud that we can add to the tradition here at Midwestern State."

MSU swept all three doubles courts for the ninth-time this season, improving to 9-0 when grabbing the early 3-0 lead in the match. The 21st-ranked tandem of sophomore Angel Palacios and freshman Alex Martinez Roca rattled off their 13th-straight win, downing Bob Rice and Daniel Colmenares, 8-1, at No. 3.

The duo of senior Vasudev Vijayaraman and sophomore Denney Norrie rolled through Marcos Silva and Felipe Dias, 8-2, at the No. 2 line, winning their 15th match of the season to push the advantage to 2-0.

Junior Dillon Pineda and freshman Nolan McCaig, the nation's 17th-ranked doubles team, knocked off Raul Stevens and Jordan Minjoot, 8-3, at No. 1 to complete the sweep.

In singles, McCaig snared Sanchez, 6-1, 6-0, at No. 4 for his 17th win of the season to stretch the lead to 4-0 before Palacios, the 75th-ranked singles player, blasted Dias, 6-1, 6-2, to clinch the Mustangs first conference title in 16 years.

At the No. 2 flight, Pineda fought off Silva, 6-4, 6-2, to extend the MSU lead to 6-0 while 15th-ranked Vijayaraman fell to seventh-ranked Stevens in a top-15 clash at No. 1, 6-3, 6-4.

Martinez Roca cracked the top-15 on the single season combined wins chart, winning his 36th-overall match, dropping Minjoot, 6-1, 6-1. The freshman's .810 winning percentage ranks 13th all-time in single season history.

Freshman Jean Muniz closed out the match in dramatic fashion, taking down Rice in a third-set tiebreaker, 6-2, 2-6, 12-10 to close out the MSU victory.

"I think the neatest thing that I've seen is that we've been top-25 in the nation for five years in a row," Linn added. "We've never dropped out of the top-25 which I think is amazing from a players standpoint and a program standpoint that we've been so consistent for so long, regardless of who's been in the lineup. It's a credit to our support staff as well. Kyle Williams, Gary Diehm, Trey Reed, Kurt Portmann and others have been here during that time. I'm very thankful to all the families as well that have helped add to the tradition of our program."

Women clinch share of LSC title

The 15th-ranked MSU Texas women's tennis team secured at least a share of the Lone Star Conference regular season championship with an 8-1 win over UT Permian Basin on Friday. Midwestern State claims its fourth title overall, all coming in the last five years.

With the win and the head-to-head victory against Tarleton State, the Mustangs clinched the No. 1 seed at the Lone Star Conference Championships in Corpus Christi next Friday and Saturday.

Friday marked the first time in school history MSU claimed both the men's and women's regular season championship.

"It's pretty awesome to win our fourth title in the last five years considering the amount of turnover we've had on our roster," said head coach Scott Linn. "Players have stepped up, but we've also had players like Assistant Coach Amy Clifton that have been here for multiple championships. You have people like the Coffman family where Taylor and Maddy both have been part of multiple championships. That's neat to see those families buy into our program. The players buy into the challenges I put in front of them every day and commit to the opportunities. I'm proud of our women and the tradition that they've created."

The Mustangs swept all three doubles courts for the 16th time this season, improving to 16-0 when winning on all three courts.

At the No. 3 flight, senior Daria Panferova and freshman Maddie Rowe won their 17th-straight match, improving to 17-0, ousting Amelie Saint-Dizier and Madison Hoelting, 8-0 to put MSU up 1-0.

Junior Greta Lazzarotto and sophomore Bianca Duff matched the longest doubles winning streak in program history, routing Andrea Villalobos and Eugenia Sanchez, 8-2, at the No. 2 flight. The duo tied Monika Graff and Leah Roberts' school-record of 20-straight set in 2010, moving to 20-0 on the season.

The 12th-ranked tandem of junior Maddy Coffman and sophomore Ashley Ramirez completed the sweep, downing Fernanda Orona and Maria Briones, 8-2, at No. 1 for the pair's 17th win of the season.

In singles, MSU grabbed first set wins on five of six courts en-route to the conference title. 72nd-ranked Duff swept Villalobos, 6-0, 6-0, at No. 2 to push the Mustangs advantage to 4-0.

At the No. 1 flight, 36th-ranked Coffman clinched the deciding point for the Maroon and Gold, steamrolling Orona, 6-0, 6-1, to improve to 14-6 at the top flight on the year.

After celebrating her Senior Day festivities prior to the match, Panferova won her 15th-straight singles match, matching Paige Boykin (2014) and Emily Black (2001) for the second-longest singles winning streak in school history. The Russian blasted Briones, 6-2, 6-0, to climb to 15-1 on the season and 14-0 at the No. 3 line.

Ramirez overcame a deficit in the first set to finish off Sanchez, 6-4, 6-3, at No. 4 before sophomore Emilija Segetlija defeated Paulina Obreque, 6-2, 6-2, at No. 6.

Midwestern State returns to the courts on Friday, April 20, at the Lone Star Conference Championships in Corpus Christi, Texas.

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