KNOXVILLE, Tn- The women's tennis team completed their weekend road-trip going 3-0 against Southwest Virginia Community College, Ferrum College, and Greensboro College. The Royals toughest test came on Friday against Ferrum College where the Royals had to stage a comeback for the 5-4 victory.
After defeating SWCC 7-2 on Wednesday, the Royals continued into Virginia to play against Ferrum College. Facing a 2-0 deficit due to injuries, the Royals were able to tie the match up at 2-2 after doubles with a win at the top tier from Paola Testa and Cait Bowling and a win at the second tier from Lauren Murray and Iris Loveday.
Singles would continue to be a back-and-forth affair. The Ferrum Panthers would take a 3-2 lead after a win at the five spot, but the Royals would answer as Paola Testa put away her opponent at the 1 spot. Ferrum would inch closer to a win after a win at 3 meaning the Royals would have to win the remaining two matches on court. Murray would get the comeback started on court 2 battling back from a set down to take the second set. In the 3rd set breaker, the Panthers and the Royals traded the first few points before Murray went on a streak of 5 straight points to put her a few points away. She would eventually put the match away 10-6 in the final tie-break.
With the match knotted at 4-4, all eyes turned to senior Iris Loveday who found herself in a third set breaker as well after taking the first set and dropping the second. Loveday, who is no stranger to tie-breaks, continued to go back and forth with no player leading by more than 3 points at any given moment. Holding match point at 9-8, Loveday would draw her opponent to the net, and after a series of defensive shots, would pass her opponent for the victory.
The Royals used this momentum the following day to sweep Greensboro College 7-0.
Coach Hale couldn't have been happier that the senior was the player who pulled out the big win for the team. "This was a tough match against a group of opponents that fought really hard to the end. We played them a few weeks ago, but due to some injuries and then playing on the road this was a completely different match. Lauren did a fantastic job keeping her head and making a comeback in both singles and doubles, but the story of the day is definitely Iris. Iris has always joked about how much she hated tiebreaks, so it was only natural that one of her last big matches ended that way. She really demonstrated mental growth, even saying to me before she took the court 'This is my moment!' I'm just really proud of her and the whole crew after today."
The Royals are back at home Monday afternoon for their final regular season match against Maryville.