Josbena a bright spot for Tigers

Senior tennis player wins her 61st doubles match for Missouri
Friday, April 20, 2007 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 11:51 a.m. CDT, Sunday, July 20, 2008

Playing aggressively at the net is something senior Erika Josbena has been comfortable doing since she was a freshman on the Missouri women’s tennis team.

Josbena and her partner, Amanda Pratzel, won their third straight doubles match Thursday against Wichita State, but it was the Tigers’ lone doubles victory in a 6-1 loss to the Shockers at the Green Tennis Center’s outdoor courts.

It was Josbena’s 61st doubles victory in her four-year career. She is in sixth place for career doubles wins at Missouri.

Josbena said that with a partner behind her, she enjoys playing at a fast pace at the net.

“I’ve always loved playing at the net, so doubles really suits me well,” she said.

Missouri coach Blake Starkey said that because Josbena has been playing since her freshman year, she has had the opportunity to accumulate a lot of wins.

He also said playing at the net is her style and her knowledge for the game is beneficial.

“Her doubles has certainly gone up in her time here,” Starkey said. “Anytime they get a record, it’s always great for them and something somebody else can look at and say I want to get that.”

Starkey also said that it’s important to have a partner to trust in doubles, which is why Josbena and Pratzel work well together.

He said they know what they’re doing on the court, which showed Thursday.

The Tigers’ (8-11) only singles victory over the Shockers (21-2) was at No. 6 when Charlotte Bellis defeated Torrie Browning 6-4, 1-6, 10-8.

The Tigers’ toughest singles match came at No. 1 in junior Chrissy Svetlic’s 6-3, 6-1 loss to Madina Rakhim, who is ranked 67th in the country.

Starkey gave credit to the Shockers.

“Wichita State isn’t No. 34 for nothing,” Starkey said. “In spots, I think we competed pretty well, but we didn’t have enough to get four points today.“

This was the second time this season that the Tigers have played a home match outdoors.

Starkey said the Tigers have been playing “awfully well indoors,” but said they need to improve on the outdoor courts.

The Tigers will wrap up the season when they host No. 41 Texas at noon Saturday before heading to the Big 12 Conference Championships from April 26 through 29 in Kansas City.

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