Aaron Carter, 23 Sports Reporter
Mizzou tennis came up just short on Saturday after a comeback attempt faltered against the No. 24 Tennessee Volunteers. The Tigers lost the doubles point and the No. 4 singles match, which both proved crucial to the result.
The national No. 17 doubles pairing of junior Amina Ismail and senior Bea Machado Santos was the lone bright spot for the Tigers in doubles, as they dropped the doubles point, which put them behind early on in the day.
Ismail and Santos’ win on Saturday marked their fifth consecutive doubles match victory against ranked opponents. They discarded the Volunteers’ No. 1 doubles pairing easily, winning 6-1. The duo’s overall record on the season improved to 11-4.
However, Ismail and Santos did not just settle for doubles victories, as they both took home wins in their singles matches.
Ismail took care of business at the No. 5 spot, winning 6-2, 6-4 against sophomore Kim Kermet. This win marked Ismail’s 14th singles win of the year and it was just her first one in conference play. Ismail leads the team in total wins (singles and doubles combined) with 32 on the year, just one ahead of her doubles partner, Santos.
Santos, at the No. 1 spot, fought an intense battle. The meet was coming down to the wire, with the Volunteers only one match win away from taking home the team victory, but it wouldn’t be given up by Santos. Santos rallied back from losing the first set, 4-6, to win the second set, 6-4. The third set ended after a long tiebreaker, resulting in a 7-6 (7) win for Santos.
This win came against Tennessee’s No. 58 senior Brittany Lindl, which was Santos’ fourth victory over a ranked opponent this year.
Despite the exciting match at the number one spot, the excitement of Tigers fans was numbed fairly quickly after the No. 1 match ended. The Volunteers took the singles match at the No. 4 spot, which was a match-up between two freshmen: Mizzou’s Mackenzy Middlebrooks and Tennessee’s Johanna Silva. Silva took it in three sets, 2-6, 6-4, 6-2.
Mizzou will be back at it on Sunday for an even bigger meeting with the No. 2 Georgia Bulldogs at the Mizzou Tennis Complex. Play will commence at 1 p.m. and there will also be a pre-match Senior Day ceremony for seniors Santos, Cassidy Spearman and Kadi Fauble.