All the Missouri tennis team needed was rest and relaxation.
Tigers coach Blake Starkey gave his team three days off last week. After its loss to Iowa, four Tigers had injuries.
Urska Juric had a sore right knee and Hana Kraftova and Yelena Olshanskaya had sore left knees , and Mary Barry had a back strain.
Starkey hoped the time off would help the players recover. He was right.
The Tigers played well against the Texas Tech Red Raiders, beating them 5-2 for their second Big 12 Conference win. MU is 8-5, 2-4.
“I really do feel good about this win,” Starkey said.
Saturday’s match between Juric and Irina Tereschenko was the closest of the day. Juric won 6-2, 3-6, 6-3.
“I’m very happy for Erika (Josbena) and Urska,” Starkey said. “Urska’s played (Tereschenko) four times and so she’s always had really tight matches against her and they’ve just had a real battle when they’ve played against each other over the four years.
“I like seeing Urska going out with the last ‘W.’”
Juric controlled the first set but struggled in the second. Starkey said Juric’s play didn’t wane.
“You can’t say that (Juric) went down, (Tereschenko) really picked it up,” Starkey said.
Juric said she got a little tired during the second set and also noticed Tereschenko played better.
Tereschenko led 2-1 in the third set when Juric switched rackets. Juric won the next three games to take 4-2 lead, and Tereschenko never caught up. On match point, Tereschenko returned Juric’s hard serve, and after several volleys, Juric placed a ball out of reach and won. The match was the longest of the day.
“It always feels good to win,” Juric said. “Especially if you play three hours.”
Juric said her injured knee felt better Saturday.
“At the end, it started to bother me but it’s getting better,” Juric said.
Starkey said he was glad to see Josbena beat Iva Gyurgina 6-1, 6-2.
“Erika has really had some struggles lately and for her to come back and play strong like she did today was great,” Starkey said.
Josbena said it was good she could finally win.
“I’ve been playing pretty well throughout the season. I just hadn’t been pulling matches out,” Josbena said. “I was really excited about today and how I played.”
Missouri won all three doubles matches. Juric and Katka Sevcikova defeated Tereschenko and Kendall Brooks 8-3. Josbena and Olshanskaya defeated Katja Kovacic and Tara Browning 8-2 and Texas Tech’s Lakann Wagley and Hristiyana Gocheva fell to Barry and Hana Kraftova 8-5.
Missouri’s two losses came when Wagley defeated Olshanskaya 6-3, 6-1 and Starkey forfeited the match between Barry and Kovacic. Starkey forfeited after Barry lost the first set in a 7-5 tiebreaker.
“The team match was over and we’ve got to play tomorrow,” Starkey said. “It made no sense to play a meaningless match.”