A dramatic finish for Wagner, Missouri

MU sophomore beats Kansas opponent on final point, clinches victory for Tigers
Sunday, April 8, 2007 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 12:47 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 15, 2008

For Missouri’s No. 6 singles player Raquel Wagner, it doesn’t get much better than winning the decisive point against Kansas.

With the match tied at 3-3, Wagner, a sophomore who said she felt the pressure of the situation, defeated the Jayhawks’ Stephanie Smith 6-3, 6-4 to help the Tigers women’s tennis team win 4-3 Saturday at Green Tennis Center.

When Wagner got the final point to seal the victory, Missouri coach Blake Starkey jumped up from his seat, threw both of his arms in the air, while turning to the large crowd saying thanks with a large smile on his face.

It was Wagner’s fourth win in the Big 12 Conference competition, which leads the Tigers. Wagner also won this season against Kansas State and Oklahoma and she earned the lone team point against Texas Tech. She is also second overall on the team in wins with eight.

“I think I played smart, I didn’t go for too much,” Wagner said. “I’ve never gotten to play a cinching match like that. So if you get to play that against Kansas, that’s fun.”

Starkey said Wagner outhit her opponent.

“She played very confident,” he said.

Starkey said he was also pleased with No. 2 singles player Chrissy Svetlic, who he said showed “great heroics.” Svetlic was down one set and was tied 5-5 in the second going to deuce, but forced a third set and won 2-6, 7-5, 6-1 over the Jayhawks’ Kunigunda Dorn.

“Chrissy caught momentum late in the match, and some of the balls fell her way,” Starkey said.

Svetlic, who has been playing at the No. 2 spot for three consecutive weeks, has already posted six more wins than she did last year. She leads the team with wins with 18. Starkey said beating Kansas is the Tigers’ biggest win this season.

“This is a big win for this group of girls and I’m just very proud of all of them,” he said. “It’s a complete team win and Kansas gave us everything we could handle.”

Even though Starkey said he thinks Kansas (4-12, 2-5 Big 12) is stronger than Missouri (7-10, 2-8), Missouri has won the past four of five meetings.

“We’re going to give them a couple of days off,” Starkey said. “They’ve earned it. It was a really good day today.”

The Tigers, who are 5-4 at home, finish their season with a three-game homestand. They play Iowa State on April 14, Wichita State on April 19 and Texas on April 21.

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