Murray State women’s tennis opened their fall season at the Austin Peay Invitational – competing on Friday and Saturday in Clarksville, Tennessee. The Racers participated in both singles and doubles matches over the weekend, with Sara Bjork highlighting the performances with a flight three singles championship.
At the end of the first day of competition, the Racers featured five players that would go on to reach the semifinals in their respective singles brackets. It was also an impressive showing from the freshman players who participated in their first matches in a Racer uniform.
“I’m very proud of Sam, Marit and Natalie this weekend. They all went 2-1 in singles and lost very tight matches, so it was great to see them playing and competing at a good level in their first tournament as Racers. They all showed a lot of grit and I am excited for them moving forward,” said MSU head coach Jorge Caetano.
Moving ahead to Saturday, Sara Loncarevic (6-3, 4-6, 10-3), and Sara Bjork, who actually faced teammate Marit Kreugel (6-3, 2-6, 11-9) were victorious in their semifinal matches to reach the championship in the flight two and flight three singles brackets on day two. Bjork would go on to win the flight three singles championship, defeating Belmont’s Sarah Brackin (6-1, 4-6, 10-2) in the final.
“I couldn’t be more proud of Sara Bjork. Seeing her having to sit out for a whole last season (due to injury) and not playing any matches for over 18 months was heartbreaking because I know how much she wanted to play. She showed amazing attitude and, besides playing good and smart, she truly believed in herself in every match. We had no idea what to expect going into the tournament, and seeing the support she got from her teammates all the way through and how happy they were for her makes me very proud of the culture we have built in our program,” added Caetano.
“Sara Loncarevic picked up where she left off last year and had another great tournament. She definitely had chances to win her final, but her opponent played very well in the key moments and sometimes that’s how it goes – the opponent just had an amazing day.”
Claire Chang and Anja Loncarevic would also reach the championship match in the flight one doubles bracket after earning a 6-3 victory in the semifinal, but would have to retire the final match due to injury.
“Anja and Claire did a great job for us in doubles and, unfortunately, they had to retire the final match due to injury. I’m very happy with what I saw from them this weekend and think they can be a very solid team for us this year.”
“It was a very good first tournament for us where we got to compete against half of the OVC schools. Having such good results shows that we will be very competitive again this year,” concluded Caetano.
The Racers return to action on Friday, when they compete in the Central Arkansas Invitational in Conway, Arkansas.