Salukis defeat Racers in first outdoor meet

By Akeem Glaspie

The SIU women’s tennis team battled heavy winds and cool temperatures during its first outside meet but still dominated Murray State 5-2.

The meet was held Thursday at the University Courts outside the SIU Arena, where the home fans boosted the Salukis to their fifth win of the spring season. Coach Audra Nothwehr said the team was able to adapt to the outdoor environment despite limited practice time.

“We only had two days of practice since our last match …  we focused on getting a nice comfortable rhythm outside,” Nothwehr said.


Nothwehr said the pace of outdoor play is slower than indoors, and the Salukis came out well prepared.

The Saluki women swept the Racers in doubles play, led by No. 1 seed junior Melanie Delsart and sophomore Korey Love. The players defeated their opponents 8-4.

No. 2 seed junior Anastacia Simons and sophomore Anita Lee continued the solid play with an 8-6 win, and partners Jennifer Dien and Ariadna Cairo Baza, both juniors, wrapped up the doubles sweep with an 8-5 win as the three seed.

As singles play began, lower-seeded players carried the Salukis as the temperatures dropped and the team adjusted to playing under the lights.

Three seed Dien battled back after dropping the first set 1-6 to win 6-4, 6-3. Dien said her positive mindset helped her defeat her opponent.

“After the first set was done, I was like, ‘You know what, it was just the first set and I still have two more to go,’” Dien said.  “My mindset was like, just … be patient with myself.”

Six seed Simons made quick work of her opponents 7-5, 6-1. Fifth seed Gisela Cairo Baza won 6-4, 6-4, and fourth seed Ariadna Cairo Baza won 6-3, 7-5.

No. 1 seed Melanie Delsart retired during the third set because of a leg injury. Delsart won the first set 1-6, but lost the next set 6-4, and was trailing 4-0 before she retired from the match.

No. 2 seed Lee lost 7-5, 6-2 during a match that featured several disputes over balls being called in-play that Lee considered out of play. While a referee was present to judge the spot of the ball, it is up to the players to make their own calls during the match.

Lee said the disputes affected her composure during the match.

“You don’t want to ever show your opponent that you’re mad; they feed off of that,” Lee said. “So you want to be the one making them mad … and unfortunately I didn’t do too good of a job at that today.”

Nothwehr said she was proud of how her team handled the weather.

“I noticed in singles we were struggling to get a lead at the very beginning, some players it took longer to adjust,” Nothwehr said. “Once we figured out the wind we were able to use it to our advantage, whether it was drop-shooting against the wind or slicing against the wind.”