Seniors lead Saluki women to victories

By Gus Bode

The seniors of the SIU women’s tennis team used their final home matches to improve their position for a run at the conference title.

Seniors Sabine Tsala Mvilongo, who won two of her three singles matches, and Amanda Taillefer, who won her final home-court match against Drake, helped the Salukis pick up two victories in their three-match home stand to improve their overall record to 10-9 and Missouri Valley Conference record to 3-2.

The Salukis swept the Billikens, 4-0, in a match that was moved indoors because of high winds and was shortened because of court availability at Sports Blast.


The doubles teams of Tsala Mvilongo and sophomore Jessica Flannery and Taillefer and junior Andrea Courtney were victorious as SIU captured the doubles point. In singles action, Tsala Mvilongo, Martina Vianna Ce and Michela Cruise completed the sweep against SLU.

Coach Audra Nothwehr said SIU’s doubles play gave the team positive momentum and confidence heading into singles.

“Definitely doubles looked a lot better. They’re moving forward and getting to the net more, so it really shows up in the end,” Nothwehr said.

The Salukis resumed conference play Saturday, but fell to Northern Iowa, 5-2. Tsala Mvilongo and Vianna Ce won in straight sets in No. 1 and No. 2 singles after being swept in the doubles matches. But the team was unable to capitalize on that momentum, losing close matches in No. 3 and No. 4 action before falling to the Panthers.

SIU came back to compete Sunday in its final home match of the season, picking up a 5-2 victory, which moved its conference record to 3-2. The Salukis earned the doubles point with the combination of a default win in No. 3 doubles combined with a victory by the No. 2 doubles team of Cruise and Vianna Ce.

After losing in No. 1 and No. 2 singles, Cruise, Flannery and Taillefer helped SIU rebound and win the next three singles matches en route to the team’s third conference victory of the season.

Tsala Mvilongo, who saw her five-match winning streak in singles come to an end Sunday at the hands of Drake junior Veronika Leszayova, said the team could still make positive strides before the MVC Tournament.


“Next weekend we are playing some really good teams, so we can make a positive out of that,” she said.

The Salukis travel to Terre Haute, Ind., Friday to face Indiana State.

Luis C. Medina can be reached at 536-3311 ext. 238 or [email protected].