Salukis drop three matches

By Gus Bode

Doubles pull out a win against EKU

The SIU women’s tennis team is in the process of finding itself. The first stop on its path to enlightenment was Eastern Kentucky and, judging by its performance there this past weekend, there is still much to be learned.

The Salukis’ spring season started with three losses to Belmont, Xavier and Eastern Kentucky due to an inability to show up in singles play. SIU lost by scores of 5-2 in matches against Xavier and EKU, and fell to Belmont as well.

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“Our kids need to figure out ways to adapt their game and overcome,” said SIU head coach Brett Bridel. “We’re not the most talented team this year, and they just have to use their brains and figure out ways to overcome their opponents.”

For the first-year coach and his group, the losses hurt as they faced teams who were classified as beatable. But positives were not completely missing from the Salukis’ outlook.

Bridel came away from the weekend impressed by the leadership of his upperclassmen, including junior Maria Blanco and senior Tana Trapani, who notched a doubles win against EKU Sunday.

“I was very pleased with our doubles because these combinations were just put together a couple of weeks ago,” Bridel said. “We tried a lot of variations in the fall, this is a doubles lineup we knew we wanted to go with. They haven’t had much practice together, but I’m happy with the doubles. We played well.”

The teamwork showed in those matches give the squad reason to believe the light shining at the end of the path is welcoming – not headlights from the team busses of future opponents ready to run them over.

“As a team we are building chemistry and I think we made strides,” Bridel said.

Reporter Kyle Means can be reached at [email protected]

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