Nathalie Jones, 23 Sports Reporter
Missouri Tigers tennis upended No. 33 Alabama Crimson Tide in their regular season finale Sunday. The Tigers showed a lot of determination to snap their losing streak in Tuscaloosa, defeating the Tide 4-3.
The Tigers were sharp during doubles play as they took the No. 2 and No. 3 matches 6-3. The No. 2 winning pair was Cassidy Spearman and Mackenzy Middlebrooks; the pair not only improved their record to 3-1, but also remained perfect in conference play at 2-0.
Moving down the line, Missouri clinched the doubles point in the No. 3 match, where Clare Raley and Tate Schroeder played together for only the second time this season. However, that didn’t seem to deter the duo as they came through to win the match 6-3, giving Mizzou its second straight team doubles point.
The Tide wasn’t going to let Missouri completely overrun them, however, as their first singles play victory brought the score to 1-1. Missouri’s Bea Machado Santos was quick to respond with a massive victory for the Tigers. Alabama’s No. 15 Erin Routliffe was the highest-ranked opponent Santos has ever defeated.
The win was Santos’ fifth victory over a ranked opponent this season, and the 10th of her career. She will finish the regular season with 12 singles wins and 33 overall victories.
Following the big win from Santos, Alabama found the strength to put forth two winning matches against the Tigers, taking down Schroeder and Spearman. After Alabama took the 3-2 lead, Mizzou looked for a big push. The push came in Amina Ismail, as she buckled down to win her match 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 for the Tigers.
With the match tied at 3-3, everything came down to Middlebrooks. Holding on to a 5-4 advantage in the third set, she took the match against the Tide’s Smith Hinton on a smashed ace to get the final point, clinching the duel for Missouri.
The regular season may be over, however, Missouri will move on to the SEC Tournament. They will face Ole Miss on April 19, hoping to carry the momentum.