Tennis drops SEC opener at No.50 Arkansas 6-1

By Joey Gjata, 23 Sports

Sunday, March 1-

After splitting a weekend series at Houston and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, the Missouri tennis team lost to No. 50 Arkansas in a very one-sided affair.

The Razorbacks swept the visitors in all six singles matches to cruise to a 6-1 victory in its SEC opener.

The Tigers came into the match with an 8-4 non-conference record for the spring season, including a stretch in which they won six out of seven. After Nebraska broke their winning streak, senior No.1 Kelli Hine and company finished non-conference play 1-2.

Despite the youth and inexperience of Missouri, the team has not lacked chemistry in doubles play. The Tigers have found two strong tandems in juniors Hine and Madison Rhyner and sophomores Beatriz Machado Santos and Brittany Lashway. Both pairs entered the day with perfect 4-0 records on the year.

Mizzou won the doubles point thanks to a crucial No. 3 doubles match victory by the Santos-Lashway duo 8-7 (10-8). A huge mini break and an unforced error gave the visitors what ended up being their only point of the afternoon.

Arkansas’ No. 1 singles player, Yuliya Lysa, comfortably breezed past Hine 6-3, 6-2. It was a day to forget for the Texas Tech transfer, who couldn’t find any rhythm, dropping both her singles and doubles matches on Sunday.

Up next, sophomore Cassidy Spearman, who finished her non-conference singles record (9-2) in fantastic form, also lost in two sets, 6-2, 6-3, to Shannon Hudson. It was more of the same in the third and fourth singles matches as Santos fell 6-3, 6-0, while freshman Brianna Lashway weakly threatened a third set in her 6-1, 7-5 defeat.

With the match already sealed, the Razorbacks went on to complete the singles sweep in the final two draws. In all fairness, Brittany Lashway and freshman Clare Raley put up valiant efforts as each forced a decisive third set. Mia Jurasic ousted Lashway 7-5, 2-6, 10-4, and Flavia Araujo edged Raley with a final scoreline of 6-4, 2-6, 10-4.

The loss will no doubt be a hard pill to swallow for Mizzou, but the Tigers will look to their impressive 46-24 non-conference record for inspiration and assurance in the next two conference matchups.

Missouri will make head down to Mississippi next weekend to face No. 63 Mississippi State on Friday at 3 p.m. followed by No. 15 Ole Miss on Sunday at 1 p.m. The Bulldogs have started off 1-1 in conference play with a victory over No. 25 Kentucky and a loss to No. 13 Vanderbilt, while the high-flying rebels have hit somewhat of a slump losing to both aforementioned ranked teams to start conference play 0-2.

The results should give the Tigers something to work off of over the next week.