Daily Egyptian

Women’s tennis wins potential last home match

By Sean Carley, @SCarleyDE

For potentially the last time in program history, Saluki women’s tennis walked off winners on its home court.

SIU swept the weekend with a 7-0 win against Northern Iowa on Saturday and a 4-3 win against Drake on Sunday.

These are the fourth and fifth wins in a row for SIU (13-9, 5-0 Missouri Valley Conference), which stands with nationally ranked No. 26 Wichita State as the two undefeated teams in conference play. 

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The Dawgs won every match except for one doubles contest against UNI and none of the singles matches went to a third set.

Sunday was not as smooth of sailing for the Salukis.

SIU started the day down a point after dropping two of three doubles matches.

However, the team rebounded, taking the first three singles matches to claim a 3-1 overall lead against the Bulldogs.

Needing just one more point, junior Polina Dozortseva clinched the victory with a 6-3, 6-4 victory against senior Lea Kozulic.

Dozortseva said the win against Drake was a huge step forward for the team.

“Winning against Drake is always a big deal for us,” she said. “They always play the best against us and we’re 5-0 in the conference, so that’s always nice.”

Even though Sunday would’ve traditionally been Senior Day, the team doesn’t have one on the roster.

Regardless, it may have been every player’s last chance to wear a Saluki uniform at home.

On March 9, SIU President Randy Dunn listed men’s and women’s tennis as potential cuts in response to Gov. Bruce Rauner’s proposed fiscal year 2017 budget.

Coach Audra Anderson said the team’s fate is out of their hands and they’re staying positive.

“I hope it’s not [the final home match],” she said. “We’ll just have to wait and see. We’re just going to take it one match at a time. Hopefully all of our fans, supporters and alumni will come and help us if there is a need.”

According an email from Dunn, cutting the teams would save the Carbondale campus $688,000.

Despite the budget situation, multiple players are confident the team will be around next season.

Sophomore Athena Chrysanthou said the team hasn’t been told that it is on the chopping block any more seriously than before.

“We haven’t heard anything that could make that a possibility yet, so it seems unlikely,” she said.

The Dawgs will take on Wichita State and Missouri State on Saturday and Sunday to close out the regular season.

Even with a split, the 6-1 MVC mark would be the team’s best since 2013.

Aidan Osborne contributed to this article.

Sean Carley can be reached at [email protected] or at 618-536-3307.

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