Tennis takes two at home

The SIU women’s tennis team emerged undefeated against both Austin Peay and McKendree 7-0 in a home doubleheader Friday at Sports Blast.

The Salukis (6-1) are on a six-match winning streak and picked up their second and third sweeps of the season after winning every match in two sets.

Seniors Melanie Delsart and Anastacia Simons led the way as the country’s No. 36 duo bested Ornella Di Salvo and Andra Cornea 8-1 at the No. 1 spotIn doubles competition against Austin Peay (0-5), to improve to 18-2 on the season.

Delsart and Simons communicated well with each other on the court and easily won against  Austin Peay’s duo, who couldn’t find a rhythm against SIU’s top doubles team.

Juniors Korey Love and Anita Lee struggled in their match against Austin Peay’s Vanessa Tavares and Alison Carre, but they battled back to win 8-7 in the No. 2 spot.

The match went back and forth as Love and Lee couldn’t pick up any momentum against Austin Peay’s duo the match continued, Love and Lee capitalized on errors and  found a way to pick up a tough win against a resilient tandem.

At the No. 3 spot, senior Jennifer Dien and sophomore Natasha Tomishima finished their counterparts 8-1 to continue the Salukis’ doubles-play dominance. Dien and Tomishima rattled Austin Peay’s Julie Covington and Jovana Karac early, and cruised to an easy victory. Dien and Tomishima are now 12-4 on the season.

SIU continued its winning ways in singles play as every Saluki earned a win.

Delsart topped Carre 6-0, 6-2 at the No. 1 spot to improve to 11-6 on the season.

Love won her first two dual match wins of the year as she beat her opponent 6-0, 6-0.

Dien won her eighth-straight match after defeating Karac 6-3, 6-0. The senior is now 12-5 on the season.

The Salukis picked up where they left off in the nightcap against McKendree (1-1) as they did not record one loss in singles or doubles play.

Dien and freshman Abigail Plecki defeated McKendree’s Kelcie Comley and Nathalia Oliveira 8-4 in the No. 2 doubles-play spot, and sophomores Gisela Cairo Baza and Ariadna Cairo Baza bested their opponents 8-2 in the No. 3 spot.

Gisela Cairo Baza beat her opponent 6-0, 7-5 at the No. 4 spot in singles play to record her fourth win of the season.

Plecki won her first dual match and, beat McKendree’s Erika Thomas-Smith 6-1, 6-0. The freshman is now 6-4 on the season.

Coach Audra Nothwehr said she was impressed with her team’s play in both matches, but her team’s focus stood out more.

“Our focus was on ourselves,” she said. “I wanted us to focus on how we were playing and not necessarily what the score would end up being or how our opponents were doing, and I think we did that.”

Nothwehr said there were goals in practice that the team looked to improve on and the team responded by meeting those goals in the doubleheader.

“In doubles, we wanted them to start closing with their volleys, (and) I saw that. In singles, we’re working on transitions a lot, (and) I saw that,” she said. “I think if you stay focused on just a few goals, then they will focus on those instead of the overall, ‘OK, get a win.’”

The women’s tennis team is now finished with their indoor season, and Nothwehr said it will focus on playing outdoors.

“It’s a little-bit different game outside,” Nothwehr said.

The Salukis will continue their 2013 season March 12 when they travel to Miami to take on Florida International.

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About Terrance Peacock

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