NCAA Womens Tennis

Spartans Season Ends in 4-3 Heartbreaker to Rutgers at B1G Championships

Spartans Season Ends in 4-3 Heartbreaker to Rutgers at B1G Championships

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – In a hard-fought bout that came down to the final court, the Michigan State women’s tennis team season came to an end on Wednesday morning, losing to the No. 12-seeded Rutgers, 4-3 in the first round of the Big Ten Championships.

The first match of the B1G Championships turned to be a thriller from start to finish; beginning with the Spartans opening play taking the doubles point. The Scarlet Knights attacked early taking court No. 2, 6-1.

On the top court, senior Ayshe Can and junior Liisa Vehvilainen are coming off a ranked victory against Iowa last Sunday, but found themselves trailing 3-5 to Yana Gurevich and Mai Nguyen. The Green and White duo would soar back to win four-straight games to secure the come-from-behind victory, 7-5.

The deciding point came down to the final court with the young pairing of sophomore Marley Lambert and freshman Natalie Stasny. It was a back-and-forth matchup against Amira Badawi and Naomi Karki going into a 6-6 tiebreaker match, the Spartans young duo pulled off a nail-biting 8-6 victory, giving their team an early advantage into singles play.

Rutgers would take the first lead of the day, sweeping courts one (6-1, 6-4), four (6-2, 6-2) and six (6-3, 6-3) in straight sets.

Michigan State continued to fight and keeping the match close with victories on the No. 2 and No. 3 courts. Sophomore Matilde Morais opened her match in the second slot blanking Tara Chilton 6-0 and kept the domination going on the second set, 6-2, giving the Spartans another point.

No. 109-ranked freshman Ria Bhakta – who missed the final three matches of the regular season – made her return to the starting lineup and didn’t appear to miss a beat. The lone individual ranked player for MSU defeated Amira Badawi, 6-4, 6-1, tying the match 3-3.

The determining point came down on court No. 5 with Stasny going head-to-head with Minchae Kim that came down to a third and final set. Stasny battled back to take the second set, 6-2 but was in an early 1-5 deficit. The young freshman from Woodbridge, Illinois, worked her way back from 40-love to make it 2-5 and almost pulled off another comeback from 30-love to tie it 40-40 but fell in a heartbreaking 2-6 match. Stasny showed a lot of grit in her first B1G Championships appearance…

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