Michigan State women's tennis after trailing early, bounced back and defeated the Xavier Musketeers 4-1 Saturday morning.
In doubles, fans could not have asked for a more compelling storyline. Michigan State’s doubles pairing of Samantha Memije and Nicole Stephens found themselves down 4-1 early. Then they turned up the heat, winning the next five sets, securing a win versus Xavier’s Anna Letto and Kaitlin Ruether.
"At first, we were in our heads a little bit and we were a little tired. Then coach came up to us, and she was like ‘Just focus on the basics. Just do your thing. You've been here before. You can do it,'" Memije said. “Then we just took one point at a time and then eventually we came out with a (win).”
MSU coach Kim Bruno was glad to see such a gritty win from her doubles pair.
“When our back's against the wall, it is good to see that our girls came out disciplined, tough,” Bruno said.
Right as the pairing of Memije and Stephens secured a win, Xavier was able to defeat MSU’s Lauren Lemonds and Maja Pietrowicz, putting the spotlight on the second pairing of Michigan State and Xavier. In this match, the Spartans lined up with California native junior Mary Lewis and, all the way from Dublin, Ireland, Jennifer Timotin, who took on Anna Roggenburk and Rachael Reichenbach.
Early in the match, Lewis and Timotin led 4-2, and appeared to be well on their way to a win early. Then the Musketeer’s began to take over on their own and win the next four sets to secure the doubles point.
“Credit to Xavier in doubles,” Coach Bruno said. “We came out a little slow, but they're a complete team. We had to put it together and get it done in our singles because they beat us in doubles.”
In singles, the Spartans bounced back in a big way, winning the first four matches to quickly secure a win. It all started with dominance in the first three completed matches, as Memije, Lemonds, and Pietrowicz made quick work of their opponents. Coach Bruno was thrilled with Memije in particular.
“I can't say enough good things about that kid, she's a tough out no matter what," Bruno said. “If her feet are up in the court and she has a sitter forehand, good luck to you.”
Memije chalked up a great performance to playing her style.
“I just played my game, tried to stay in the rally, tried to keep my feet up on the baseline and be aggressive the whole time and play my game.” Memije said. “It worked out for me, so it was good.”
With Memije, Lemonds, and Pietrowicz taking care of business, all Michigan State needed was one more win. Lemonds was able to secure her first set 7-6 by securing a win in the extra set. With all eyes on Stephens, she came through in a big way, winning 6-2.
“Nicole likes to make every match a little tight, but I mean the kid is downright talented, she has a forehand like no other," Bruno said. “She can win no matter what the situation. Even if I see her down 5-0, I never think she's out of the match.”
The Spartans will look to continue their momentum against Gonzaga next Saturday.