STARKVILLE – Mississippi State women’s tennis is off to a roaring start to the season.
Not only are the Bulldogs 3-0, they have outscored their opponents 13-5 in the opening three matches. MSU earned the third win on Saturday by defeating Samford 5-2 inside the Rula Tennis Pavilion.
“I’m proud of the girls today,” head coach Chris Hooshyar said. “We talked about coming out with intensity, and staying intent throughout the match, and continuing to build habits. I think that all across the board, they did very well. The girls that won today did a phenomenal job. It’s about building, and there are things we can take away today that are good, and there are things that we can take away and need to work on. Then we’ll hit the practice courts again on Tuesday and go again. Samford always fights hard, they’re coached really well and I’m pleased with the girls today. I saw a lot of improvements.”
Mississippi State started the match by claiming the doubles point. MSU’s tandem of Dharani Niroshan and Alessia Tagliente were the first to secure a doubles win with a 6-2 victory against Alexis Lopez and Samantha Maras.
In singles, Mikhailuk came out swinging with a 6-0, 6-0 victory over Ally Hayduk. Tagaliente followed Mikhailuk with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Maras.
Freshman Athina Pitta clinched the match for the Bulldogs by defeating Noelle Mauro 6-1, 6-3. The win marked Pitta’s first collegiate dual-match win.
“It was really good; Athina did well,” Hooshyar said. “She was eager to get that first win under her belt and it’s teaching her to just play each point as it comes. I had an old coach tell me one time the match is the war, the points are the battle, focus on winning as many battles as you can and that’s what we talked about with Athina today. That’s where she did a great job.”
Rizzolo extended State’s lead to 5-0 with a 6-3, 4-6, 10-6 victory against Lopez. Rizzolo is now 2-0 in dual match play.
Mississippi State will return to action on Feb. 3 for a doubleheader against UAB at 12 p.m. and Jackson State at 4 p.m.
Mississippi State 5, Samford 2
Rula Tennis Pavilion | Starkville, Miss.
Jan. 20, 2024