A season of struggles continued for the Fort Hays State University tennis team Friday, as the Tigers dropped their fourth straight match in an 8-1 defeat to Missouri Western at the FHSU Tennis Courts.

The loss drops Fort Hays State to 6-7 and 0-3 in the MIAA, while Missouri Western improves to 6-1 and 1-1 in the league.

Lincoln is the only other MIAA team without a conference win.

“They’re coming along,” FHSU head coach Brian Flax said. “We made some big strides in (Friday’s) match, compared to last weekend. We’re just trying to keep their confidence up. A lot of these guys are used to winning more in high school and stuff like that. It’s obviously another level, and we’re trying to keep them positive and taking it one practice at a time.”

Sporting a squad with no seniors and just one junior, the Tigers sit in 10th out of 11 in the MIAA with the top eight advancing to the MIAA Women’s Tennis Championships on April 29. Fort Hays State has not been since 2013 when it was a No. 8 seed.

“Right now, we’re not too worried about the MIAA Tournament,” Flax said. “We’re just trying to get that first win in a conference match and kinda get something going there. I don’t wanna get too involved with such a young team that doesn’t really know what to expect throughout the conference play. We’re trying to go one match at a time.”

The Tigers began the spring season with back-to-back wins on the heels of four victories to end the fall. Laura Jimenez-Lendinez, a freshman from Madrid, Spain, leads the Tigers with a 7-6 singles record, the only player above .500. With an upcoming match against Lincoln (0-3) — a squad with just six players — on Friday, Flax is confident a sixth straight win over the Blue Tigers can give his team momentum in the meat of its MIAA schedule.

“We’ve had pretty good success over Lincoln the past few years,” Flax said. “Everything changes year to year, but we’re looking to get that first conference win and start feeling what it’s like to be on the winning side instead of the losing side.”

Missouri Western 8, Fort Hays State 1

Singles

1. El Ghazi, Yasmine (MWSU) def. Jimenez-Lendinez, L. (FHSU) 6-1, 6-4.

2. Aguilera, Sofia (MWSU) def. Johnson, Jessica (FHSU) 6-4, 6-3.

3. Giraldo, Sarah (MWSU) def. Villalovos, Alina (FHSU) 6-0, 6-2.

4. Smith, Meara (MWSU) def. Dick, Raven (FHSU) 6-3, 6-2.

5. Chiao, Denise (MWSU) def. Weidemann, Haley (FHSU) 7-5, 6-4.

6. Beger, Lindsay (MWSU) def. Noel, Taylor (FHSU) 4-6, 6-4, 10-6.

Doubles

1. Aguilera, Sofia/El Ghazi, Yasmine (MWSU) def. Jimenez-Lendinez, L./Johnson, Jessica (FHSU) 8-1.

2. Abreu Roman, Joanna/Giraldo, Sarah (MWSU) def. Villalovos, Alina/Dick, Raven (FHSU) 8-4.

3. Weidemann, Haley/Noel, Taylor (FHSU) def. Beger, Lindsay/Chiao, Denise (MWSU) 8-5.