Salukis fall in MVC Championship

By Terrance Peacock

The women’s tennis team finished its season with the most wins in school history but failed to win the Missouri Valley Championship as it fell to Wichita State on Sunday in the MVC Tournament.

The Shockers, who hosted the MVC tournament, defeated the Salukis 4-0 Sunday to clinch the MVC championship.

SIU finished the 2013 season with a school record of 19 wins as well as the highest-winning percentage in school history at .791, which surpassed last year’s .739 mark when the team finished 17-6.


Senior Melanie Delsart finished her impressive Saluki career second all-time in doubles wins with an overall doubles record of 79-34. The senior from Argentina also ranks 19th in school history in career singles wins with 68.

Fellow seniors Jennifer Dien and Anastacia Simons also ended with career highlights, as each have more than 100 career wins with 124 and 106, respectively, in both doubles and singles matches.

The Salukis breezed through Creighton on Friday and Drake on Saturday to set up the rematch Sunday against the Shockers, who handed the Salukis their only home and conference loss of the season.

SIU defeated the No. 7-seeded Bluejays 4-1 in the first round of the championship tournament to advance to round two.

The Salukis took the doubles point from Creighton, led by Delsart and Simons. The duo defeated sophomores Jennie Hartjes and Amanda Noonan 8-3 at the No. 1 spot while juniors Korey Love and Anita Lee bested their Bluejay counterparts 8-1.

SIU went on to dominate singles competition with three match wins to pick up its 18th win of the season.

At flight No. 1, Delsart won (6-4, 6-4) while sophomore Natasha Tomishima bested Creighton junior Analese Snyder at the No. 2 spot (6-0, 6-1) to pick up her 24th win of the season.


Sophomore Ariadna Cairo Baza clinched the win for the Salukis at the No. 4 spot with a (7-5, 6-0) win over Noonan.

The Salukis followed up Friday’s win over No. 7-seeded Creighton with a win Saturday over No. 3-seeded Drake 4-2 to advance to the championship match.

The Salukis took the doubles point from the Bulldogs after winning at the No. 2 and No. 3 spots. Tomishima and Dien bested Drake’s duo of sophomore Nell Boyd and freshman Evy Van Genechten 8-3 at the No. 2 spot while Lee and Love downed senior Ali Patterson and freshman Ante Mariel 8-1 at No. 3.

SIU then went on the win three matches in singles action to finish off the Bulldogs. Delsart bested junior Klavdija Rebol (6-1, 6-2) at flight No. 1 while Tomishima picked up a two-set win at flight No. 2, defeating Genechten (6-0, 6-1).

Cairo Baza clinched the win, defeating Boyd (7-5, 6-2) at the No. 4 spot to pick up the Salukis’ 18th win of the season.

However, the Salukis were downed by the Shockers 4-0 Sunday in a rematch from an April 21 encounter when the Shockers swept SIU 7-0 to secure the No. 1 seed in the MVC tournament.

“We fought hard today and played them much harder then last time. I am proud of the team and how they competed,” coach Audra Nothwehr said in a Saluki Athletics release. “We are sad to lose such a great class of seniors, and I just want to thank them for their years of hard work.”

The Shockers bested the Salukis in two matches in doubles competition, with the third going unfinished to pick up the doubles point.

Wichita State’s duo, composed of junior Carla Venticinque and freshman Rebecca Pedrazzi, bested Tomishima and Dien at the No. 2 spot, while Lee and Love lost 8-2 in the No. 3 spot.

In singles competition, Wichita State picked up three wins to attain the win and with that, the MVC championship.

Wichita State freshman Julia Schiller defeated Tomishima (6-3, 7-6) at the two spot, while Cairo Baza was defeated by her counterpart (6-1, 6-0).

Despite the Saluki loss, the MVC acknowledged SIU for its impressive season.

Nothwehr was named MVC Coach of the Year on Thursday, preceding the MVC tournament. This marks the first time a Saluki coach has received the honor since 1988.

Delsart and Tomishima were named to the MVC All-Select team. Delsart has garnered All-Select honors every year of her SIU career. Tomishima received her first MVC All-Select honor of her career.