NASHVILLE --- The Tennessee State men's and women's tennis teams celebrated its seniors Ani Popiashvili and Shashank Nautiyal in its final match of the season Saturday morning. Unfortunately, the Tiger men fell 7-0 to the Jacksonville State Gamecocks, while the women did the same 4-3.
The day began with a presentation of awards to both Popiashvili and Nautiyal. After speeches, hugs, laughs and pictures, the teams took to the courts.
The Gamecocks clinched the doubles points on both sides of the complex. However, duo Nautiyal and Tanishq Mahendru pulled out a doubles win at No. 2, defeating Aljaz Kaplja and Paolo Cucalon, 6-3. Aarushi Kakkar and her partner Abhilasha Vishwanath were up 5-4 on the Gamecocks before Genevie Ulanday and Elena Tendero clinched on court one, leaving the last match unfinished.
Moving into singles, the Tigers had some ground to cover to makeup for the lost doubles point, and the seniors turned up the heat. Popiashvili and Nautiyal each took their matches to a tiebreaker set, boosting the energy in the complex and encouraging the loudest crowd this season. Unfortunately, both fell in close tiebreaker sets, Nautiyal 6-3, 3-6, 7-4 and Popiashvili 6-2, 4-6, 6-4.
Freshman standout Kakkar and juniors Vishwanath and Pragati Natraj were the only Tigers to win singles matches, and did so in straight sets.
The Tigers conlcuded their seasons 13-10, 1-8 OVC (women) and 10-12, 0-5 OVC (men).
TENNESSEE STATE MEN 0, Jacksonville State 7
1. KAPLJA, Aljaz (MJSU) def. KORUGA, Stefan (TSUM) 6-1, 6-2
2. CAFFARENA, Pablo (MJSU) def. NAUTIYAL, Shashank (TSUM) 6-3, 3-6, 7-4
3. VALLEJO, Joaquin (MJSU) def. SLOAN, Larry (TSUM) 6-0, 6-4
4. CUCALON, Paolo (MJSU) def. POPOVIC, Pavle (TSUM) 6-1, 6-2
5. AGOST, Guillermo (MJSU) def. MAHENDRU, Tanishq (TSUM) 6-3, 6-3
6. LIZARRAGA, Sergio (MJSU) def. RICHARDSON, Kato (TSUM) 6-2, 6-0
1. GOMEZ, Andres/AGOST, Guillermo (MJSU) def. KORUGA, Stefan/POPOVIC, Pavle (TSUM) 6-2
2. NAUTIYAL, Shashank/MAHENDRU, Tanishq (TSUM) def. KAPLJA, Aljaz/CUCALON, Paolo (MJSU) 6-3
3. CAFFARENA, Pablo/LIZARRAGA, Sergio (MJSU) def. RICHARDSON, Kato/SLOAN, Larry (TSUM) 6-1
TENNESSEE STATE WOMEN 3, Jacksonville State 4
1. ULANDAY, Genevie (JSU) def. POPIASHVILI, Ani (TSUW) 6-2, 4-6, 6-4
2. KAKKAR, Aarushi (TSUW) def. BUECHNER, Malin (JSU) 6-4, 6-0
3. TENDERO, Elena (JSU) def. CAGE, Morgan (TSUW) 6-2, 6-2
4. MONSALVE, Diana (JSU) def. JONES, Ashia (TSUW) 6-4, 6-1
5. VISHWANATH, A (TSUW) def. CONEJERO, Alba (JSU) 6-1, 7-6 (7-5)
6. NATRAJ, Pragati (TSUW) def. ALBERTEAU, Marine (JSU) 6-3, 6-3
1. ULANDAY, Genevie/TENDERO, Elena (JSU) def. CAGE, Morgan/JONES, Ashia (TSUW) 6-3
2. BUECHNER, Malin/CONEJERO, Alba (JSU) def. KAKKAR, Aarushi/VISHWANATH, A (TSUW) 6-2
3. NATRAJ, Pragati/POPIASHVILI, Ani (TSUW) vs. MONSALVE, Diana/ALBERTEAU, Marine (JSU) 5-4, unfinished