On Wednesday afternoon, Michigan State women’s tennis team completed a rally to beat the Arizona Wildcats 4-3 and extend their winning streak to four matches after sweeping the weekend against Xavier and Virginia Tech.
The match started out smoothly as one doubles graduate student Mary Lewis and senior Maja Pietrowicz defeated senior Kirsten Prelle and graduate student Salma Ziouti 6-3 and two doubles senior Nicole Stephens and sophomore Ayshe Can beat freshman Parker Fry and junior Kayla Wilkins 6-3 as well.
The match became very interesting as the singles games went on though.
The only match that was not close in any regard was the one singles match as Lewis dominated Wilkins in straight sets, (6-0, 6-1).
When asked how it felt to win in the way that she did, Lewis was happy with the result, especially after the weekend the team had.
“It was really good,” Lewis said. “It has been a long past couple of days.”
The rest of the games were much closer though.
After going up 2-0 early, the Wildcats stormed back to take the lead 3-2 as Pietrowicz, senior Lauren Lemonds and Can all lost their singles matches in straight sets to Ziouti, Fry and freshman Midori Castillo-Meza, respectively.
Those were the last points the Spartans were to give up though, as Stephens came back after losing her first set to beat junior Lexi Ryngler 4-6, 6-0 and 6-2.
Stephens shared what was crucial in her important comeback to even the score at 3-3:
“The biggest thing that coach was talking about was utilizing the whole court, I have a tendency to stick to one side,” Stephens said. “Moving more to the forehand to open up the backhand was really huge, just using the whole court as opposed to drilling one side.”
After Stephen’s thrilling comeback, it all came down to the six singles freshman Charlotte Gisclon — and she delivered.
After taking the first set in a 7-6 tiebreaker, Prelle took the second set 6-4, not without taking a nasty fall.
After a minor injury scare, she got back out there to try to win her team the game, but Gisclon ended up being the hero, winning the final set in convincing fashion 6-3.
It was a very big win for the Spartans, but it meant more for two members of the team with ties to Arizona, Lewis and Michigan State Head Coach Kim Bruno.
Lewis played for Arizona her freshman year before transferring to Michigan State. She said she feels that transferring to MSU has helped her and she was very happy about getting the win.
“I had a good experience at UofA, but transferring here has helped me tremendously so having the win at home was a great feeling,” Lewis said.
Bruno, on the other hand, was the former coach of the Northern Arizona University Lumberjacks, which is just under a four-hour drive to Tucson, where the Wildcats are located. Bruno spoke on the feeling of getting over the hump and getting her first-ever win against them.
“This feels better than ever,” Bruno said. “I definitely had a chip on my shoulder but now I am coaching a team that can get it done.”
Other than the fact that Bruno wanted to get her first win against the Wildcats, she believes that this was the most meaningful match of the month of February for other reasons, as they enter the three-game home stand with a lot of momentum.
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“This was our biggest match of this entire month,” Bruno said. “The girls' confidence should be through the roof right now. This was the marquee match for us this month.”
The Spartans will get a much-needed rest as they will wait about a week to take on Eastern Michigan at home on Feb. 18.
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