MARTIN, Tenn. – After taking a brief one year hiatus, the University of Tennessee at Martin women’s tennis team clinched a spot in the field of six for next week’s Ohio Valley Conference Tournament with a decisive 5-2 victory over Austin Peay on Senior Day at the Skyhawk Tennis Complex.
The Skyhawks (8-9, 5-4 OVC) clinched its 21st appearance in the OVC Tournament field in the last 22 years with a commanding victory over Austin Peay on a day which the Skyhawks honored a pair of seniors. The victory also ensured that the Skyhawks would finish with a record of .500 or better in OVC play in 21 of the 22 years they have been members of the conference.
The senior duo of Ivon Simic and Katie McCall were honored prior to today’s match. The Skyhawk pair helped lead the team to three OVC Tournament appearances and combined for 41 singles victories, including 31 wins from Simic.
“This team has really over achieved, regardless of what happens the rest of the year,” said UT Martin coach Dennis Taylor. “After losing Tamera Klimek for the year, I felt It would take a monumental effort to make the top six. The credit goes to our two seniors for the leadership that they have shown throughout the year.”
The Skyhawks wasted little time clinching the doubles’ point to take the early 1-0 lead heading into singles play. The freshman duo of Hitomi Naito and Burcu Tari got the Skyhawks off on the right foot, making quick work of their opponents before posting an 8-1 victory. Simic and Sarah Candeloro were not far behind to clinch the point by overpowering the Lady Govs No. 1 doubles pair with an 8-1 match victory.
Moving into singles play, Naito continued to impress by posting her 14 victory of the season after making quick work of the Lady Govs’ Andra Cornea with a 6-1, 6-2 victory. Tari joined Naito by posting her 14th win of the season with a 6-3, 6-0 decision over Jovana Karac to give the Skyhawks a 3-1 lead.
The Skyhawk seniors would come through to seal the victory with back-to-back match victories, clinching a win on Senior Day. Simic would pull of the victory at No. 1 with a 6-0, 7-6 win over Ornella DiSalvo while McCall picked up a three-set victory (6-3, 2-6, 6-3) over Isabella Jovanovic.
UT Martin will return to action in its final regular season match on Sunday, April 13 when playing host to OVC rival Murray State. Action from the Skyhawk Tennis Complex is schedule to get underway at 2 p.m.