Lady Mocs tennis off to record-setting start - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Lady Mocs tennis off to record-setting start

CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) -- The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga women's basketball team has won 13 straight games, but it's not the only group of Lady Mocs on a roll.

The UTC women's tennis team is off to its best start in more than two decades, and it got there in record-setting fashion.

"It's hard to beat anybody, and it's really hard to beat anybody 7-0," said sixth-year head coach Jeff Clark, who is in his second stint at Chattanooga. "We're just fortunate that we've played well so far this season."

Clark may not admit it, but the Lady Mocs' first 6-0 start since 1991 is more than fate. It takes plenty of skill to dominate opponents, and that's exactly what UTC has done in a school-record five consecutive shutouts.

"We're not actually trying to go out and win every match 7-0," laughed senior captain Jenna Nurik. "We're definitely not trying to do all that. It's all just happening.

"It just comes from all of us not actually expecting another player on our team to win. We just go out and focus on getting better."

Each college tennis match features a total of seven individual matches -- five singles and two doubles, meaning UTC athletes have competed in 42 individual matches so far in the season's first month.

They've lost a total of one of the, out-scoring opponents 41-1 so far this spring.

"Our mindset has the aspect of 'Hey, let's go out there and win,' but it's never 'Let's go out and do (keep this shutout streak going),'" Nurik said. "It's been a great confidence boost to start the season, but now we need to carry that momentum in Southern Conference play.

"We're not where we want to be yet. Good news and bad news, we're not playing our best tennis yet."

That's a scary thought considering the damage they've already done in their non-conference schedule.

Chattanooga gave up it's lone point in a 6-1 season-opening win over Kennesaw State, and has since blanked mid-major opponents Middle Tennessee State, Belmont, Lipscomb, UT-Martin and Austin Peay.

The victory over MTSU was the program's first over the Blue Raiders since 1999, snapping a string of 13 straight losses.

"The program is getting better each year," Clark said. "Our success so far this season means we've got some talented players here and the older players are passing down their work ethic and wisdom to some of the younger players.

"When your younger players buy in to what you're trying to do, good things can happen."

Chattanooga hopes there are more good things to come, starting with Thursday's trip to UAB, but the true meat of the schedule starts next week with a string of ten SoCon contests across the season's final 12 matches.

No doubt somewhere in there, the consecutive streak will have to unfortunately come to an end.

"I'm sure our fitness coach will have something fun for us (as a punishment) for the first match we lose," joked Nurik. "But for right now, we're not paying attention to that stuff.

"We'll just go out and keep trying to prove ourselves, and hopefully make a run at a conference championship."

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