PROVO, Utah – In the second dual home match of the 2017 season, the BYU women's tennis team suffered a heartbreaking 4-3 loss to Missouri on Friday at the BYU indoor tennis courts.
With the match on the line and the score tied 3-3, Mizzouri's Mackenzy Middlebrooks outlasted BYU (1-1, 0-0 WCC) freshman Kate Cusick in a gruelling three-set thriller by a score of 7-6 (11), 4-6, 7-5 to help the Tigers (3-1, 0-0 SEC) pull out the win.
"It was a tough match from the beginning," BYU head coach Lauren Jones-Spencer said. "Missouri came out strong in doubles but we were able to play better points and come out on top which was awesome. In singles it came down to a tight match and Kate did a great job but those are tough matches and hopefully we'll learn and do better next time we're in that situation."
The Cougars were dominant in the opening doubles competition with senior Natella Nabieva and freshman Polina Malykh winning the No. 3 matchup 6-1 over Mizzou's Cassidy Spearman and Tate Schroeder. BYU's Samantha Smith and Savannah Ware-Avina clinched the doubles point for BYU after defeating Mizzou's Bea Machado Santos and Clare Raley 6-4 in second doubles.
In singles play, the Tigers responded quickly with back-to-back victories on courts one and four. In first singles, BYU senior Mayci Jones was forced to withdraw, giving Mizzou's Machado Santos the Tigers' first point of the day. At the No. 4 spot, BYU's Malykh fell to Mizzou's Schroeder by a count of 6-3, 6-2.
Wtih the Tigers holding a 2-1 advantage, BYU's Ware-Avina defeated Spearman 6-3, 6-3 at the No. 3 singles spot to even the match at 2-2. Mizzou retook the lead after Amina Ismail bested the Cougars' Smith with a 6-2, 6-2 tally. The Cougars' Nabieva evened the score again with a 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 win over Brianna Lashway at second singles before the match was decided in the No. 6 singles matchup between Cusick and Middlebrook, with Missouri prevailing for the win.
BYU will travel next to face Denver on Saturday, Feb. 11, at 4:00 p.m. MST at the Stapleton Tennis Pavilion. Check the BYU women's schedule page for information regarding live stats and video.
Mizzou 4, BYU 3
1. Bea Machado Santos (MIZ) def. Mayci Jones (BYU) 2-2 (1-0), retired
2. Natella Nabieva (BYU) def. Brianna Lashway (MIZ) 7-5, 4-6, 6-3
3. Savannah Ware-Avina (BYU) def. Cassidy Spearman (MIZ) 6-3, 6-3
4. Tate Schroeder (MIZ) def. Polina Malykh (BYU) 6-3, 6-2
5. Amina Ismail (MIZ) def. Samantha Smith (BYU) 6-2, 6-2
6. Mackenzy Middlebrooks (MIZ) def. Kate Cusick (BYU) 7-6 (11-9), 4-6, 7-5
PROVO, Utah – Following a home-opener sweep against Weber State, the BYU women's tennis team hosts Missouri on Friday, Feb. 3 at 11 a.m. at the BYU indoor tennis courts.
"Missouri is a good team and they played us tough last year on their home courts ," BYU head coach Lauren Jones-Spencer said. "We're just going to continue our focus of trying to play better and better every match and focus on the things we can control."
The Cougars (1-0, 0-0 WCC) look to defend a perfect record while avenging last season's 5-2 loss to Missouri. BYU was dominant in last week's 7-0 victory over Weber State and hopes to start the season with a second straight home victory.
Missouri (2-1, 0-0 Big 12) finished last season with a 16-12 record and a No. 65 ranking. The Tigers opened the season with a win over Old Dominion and a loss to Cal before defeating Utah State 6-1 on Wednesday.
Admission is free to the public and free pizza will be provided. Fans can follow the matches live.