Women’s tennis team falls to Razorbacks 5-2

The No. 29 TCU women’s tennis team lost 5-2 to the No. 15 Arkansas Razorbacks on Sunday afternoon at the indoor courts of the Bayard H. Friedman Tennis Center.

All three Horned Frogs doubles teams dropped matches to the Razorbacks.

TCU’s Kayla Duncan and Nina Munch-Soegaard, nationally ranked as the No. 22 doubles team going into the match, dropped their set 8-6 to Anouk Tigu and Claudine Paulson. Maria Babanova and Katariina Tuohimaa also lost their doubles set 8-6. Idunn Hertzberg and Gaby Mastromarino lost their set 9-7.

Head coach Jefferson Hammond said positioning and mental toughness needed to improve in order to secure the doubles win.

No. 78 Duncan and No. 56 Tuohimaa posted TCU’s only singles wins against Arkansas, but Munch-Soegaard’s loss in a three-and-a-half hour match against Tigu, No. 62 in the nation in singles, increased the TCU senior’s losing streak to five matches. Munch-Soegaard has been playing post-surgery after injuring her left shoulder.

“It’s been rough for me, coming back and still in pain, and trying to fight through it and stay positive when I’m hurting and not able to do my best right now,” Munch-Soegaard said, adding that adrenaline helped her ignore pain during the long match.

Hammond said Munch-Soegaard’s injury, while difficult, would not keep her from winning.

“Nina has been hurt so much that she’s just not been able to get the kind of reps in she needs to feel comfortable that deep into the match,” Hammond said. “She’s coming off of surgery, and it’s not easy. Her time will come, but she’s just really scrappin’ to get a win right now, and she will.”

Arkansas coach Michael Hegarty said Tigu, a junior, aspires to play professionally, which showed in her motivation to win. At one point in the match, the players seemed to duel each other with “Come on!” from opposite ends of the net. Munch-Soegaard said she fed off other players’ energy to motivate herself.

Tigu screamed in frustration, spoke to herself in her native Dutch, and slapped herself on the thigh several times during the match to get back into the game after a bad shot. The 20 people crammed into the upper-viewing floor of the indoor courts stood silent after Tigu’s loud shouts for self-motivation, then quickly went back to cheering on their preferred player.
Hegarty said his team respects Munch-Soegaard’s efforts on the court.

“We have a ton of respect for Nina, who is a top-10 player when she’s at her best, when she’s healthy, so her ranking is deceiving right now because she’s really a top-10 player,” Hegarty said. “So I’m just real proud that we were able to go toe-to-toe with her and come out on top because that’s a huge win for Anouk, who’s becoming a real force. Nina’s already a force.”

Munch-Soegaard is unranked on the Campbell’s/Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) ranking as a singles player.

The TCU women’s tennis team will play tomorrow in Ann Arbor, Mich., against the University of Michigan Wolverines.