Texans remain undefeated against WAC teams
STEPHENVILLE — It was nearly four-and-a-half hours long, but every second was enjoyable for the great crowd at Tarleton's tennis match against New Mexico State. Plus, everyone left happy, except for the Aggies.
The Texans won a thriller on Saturday at the Potishman-Lard Tennis Courts in a marathon match, defeating New Mexico State 4-3. Tarleton improved to 15-4 overall, 6-1 at home, and 6-0 against fellow Western Athletic Conference teams. They also won their fourth straight match, eighth of their last nine, and 14th of their last 16.
In a tied 3-3 affair, Martha Makantasi won the final singles match to lift the Texans to victory and drop the Aggies to 3-12.
"It feels so good to win that one," said head coach Elianne Douglas-Miron. "The way that it ended up with it being 3-all with Martha in the end was so fun, so exciting, and just overall, I'm so proud of the girls."
Makantasi defeated Natsuki Nishimura 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 in the No. 3 position to boost the Texans to the win, improving her singles record to 14-4. With it being the final match in a knotted contest, the strong crowd hung onto every point, with a worn out Makantasi giving one last victory cry when Nishimura sent match point too far.
The two teams split the singles matches 3-3 with the difference coming early, as Tarleton took the doubles point. It started with a rarity, though, as Deniza Marcinkevica and Makantasi lost for the first time together at the hands of Chloe Gavino and Lisa Zhu 2-6. They are now 5-1 as a duo.
Tarleton's Nos. 2 and 3 flights picked up the slack though. The next result was Celia Vaudiau and Faustine Palatte's 6-2 win over Bella Nguyen and Miranda Bishard at No. 3. In another thriller to decide the point, Elsa Boisson and Jemi Aguilar won a 7-6 match over Gavi Kalaga and Nishimura with a 7-5 tiebreaker.
What sounds like a broken record, Vaudiau dominated once again in singles for the win. The Tarleton junior won her 17th straight singles match to improve to 17-1 on the year with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Nguyen at the No. 5 position.
The Aggies took their first point at the No. 4 position, with Kalaga defeating Boisson 6-3, 7-6 [7-5].
Marcinkevica got back in the win column in the top flight with a 5-7, 6-1, 6-0 win over Gavino. New Mexico State then tied the match with wins at the Nos. 6 and 2 positions, Bishard defeating Anna Davidson 6-2, 7-5, and Zhu defeating Aguilar 4-6, 6-2, 6-3.
That set up Makantasi's heroics, getting the Texans to 15-4 on the year.
"It's so impressive, honestly, there aren't a lot of teams in the country right now that have that record," Douglas-Miron said. "The girls are so fired up every time we get on the court so it's been really, really fun to watch this group grow, and we're excited for a few more matches."
Just three matches remain for Tarleton on the year, their next two at home. They'll host Sam Houston and UTRGV next weekend in conference matches, taking on the Bearkats on Saturday at noon and then the Vaqueros on Sunday at noon.