Women’s tennis veteran players lead the season

By Demario Smith-Phipps

The SIU women’s tennis team ended last season with many accolades and achievements, including second place in the Missouri Valley Conference. The team strives this year for more singles and doubles victories, but an MVC women’s tennis championship is the goal.

Coach Audra Nothwehr said because the team did well last year, this year’s team should only improve.

The depth and experience of the team are its strengths, Nothwehr said. Senior Melanie Delsart is coming back after her record of 22-8 last year. Senior Anastacia Simons managed to notch 14 wins to three losses last season, and Junior Anita Lee finished last year with 19 singles and double wins.


“There are always things I can do better … I just start by remembering to work hard,” Lee said.

To emphasis hustle and intensity, Nothwehr often says at practice, “Never let the ball bounce twice; don’t do it in games, don’t do it in practice.”

The team takes part in numerous drills designed to challenge the skill sets of the players, Nothwehr said.

“We are probably the most experienced team in the conference this year,” she said.

The team has only one freshman, Abigail Plecki, who Nothwehr said will receive significant experience by training with such a veteran group of players.

Sophomore Natasha Tomishima said major improvements begin for players in their first year.

“Growing up in Brazil, I was used to clay courts and not the stuff used here,” she said. “That was something I really had to work on.”


Coach Nothwehr said she expects the team to pick up where it left off last season.

“We are a team that has seen some success last year. I don’t see why it would change this year,” she said.

The team will begin its season Sept. 21 in Clarksville, Tenn.