Tarleton plays Grand Canyon, Dixie State in Valley of the Sun starting Friday

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PHOENIX – Although the winning streak is over, the Tarleton tennis team’s level of play hasn’t dipped by any means.

On Tuesday, the elite Texans simply faced another elite team, and what do you know, elite tennis was played. The then 7-2 Texans faced the 10-2 Louisiana Tech Lady Techsters and came out on the wrong end of a highly competitive 4-2 match. But what wasn’t gained in the standings was gained in the experience, further evidence that Tarleton belongs in the conversation as one of the best teams in the Western Athletic Conference.

That notion will be put to the test this weekend, as Tarleton takes on two WAC teams over the next two days. On Friday, it will be a true road match, with the Texans and Grand Canyon Antelopes playing at 11 a.m. CT in Phoenix. The ‘Lopes have played just four matches compared to Tarleton’s 11, not seeing the court since Feb. 18. This is their home opener at the GCU Tennis Facility.

Natasha Puehse is the top player on the 2-2 GCU team, going 2-2 herself in No. 1 singles. Fabienne Schmidt (3-1 at No. 2) and Santa Strombacha (3-1 at No. 3) own the best singles records on the team. In doubles, the top pair is Puehse-Strombacha, 2-1 on the season.

On Saturday, Tarleton remains in Phoenix for a neutral site match against Dixie State at 11 a.m. CT at the GCU Tennis Facility. The Trailblazers have yet to win this season, starting 0-9, but that could change Friday, as they’re scheduled to play Arizona Christian and Ottawa (AZ), two NAIA teams.

The Trailblazers have been swept six times in their nine matches.

Tarleton, meanwhile, brings their 8-3 record to the Valley of the Sun, with seven of their eight players who have logged a completed singles match currently .500 or better. Celia Vaudiau has won nine straight matches in singles, boasting a 9-1 overall record, 7-1 at the No. 5 position.

The reigning WAC Singles Athlete of the Week, Martha Makantasi, is 8-3 in singles, mostly playing at No. 3, where she’s 6-3. Elsa Boisson is also 8-3, going 6-3 at No. 4. Deniza Marcinkevica is 5-4 at No. 1, Jemi Aguilar is 4-4 at No. 2, and Tarleton’s most common No. 6 player, Natalia Komar, is 4-5 overall, 3-4 in the final position.

In doubles, Marcinkevica and Aguilar have been raking all season, now 7-1 at No. 1. The reigning WAC Doubles Team of the Week, Makantasi-Boisson, are 7-3 overall, 6-2 at No. 3. Faustine Palatte and Vaudiau have been the latest duo at the No. 2 position, going 3-2 together.

If Tarleton wins both matches this week, it’d be their fastest run to 10 match wins in a season since 2013-14.

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