Tennis team takes second most wins at saluki classic

By Gus Bode

As she walked off the SIU Arena Tennis Courts Saturday, Amanda Taillerfer was greeted with balloons, cake and her teammates singing happy birthday.

It was the freshman’s 19th birthday and though her parents were more than 700 miles away in Raleigh, N.C., their presence was still felt.

“Her parents actually called and they paid for the cake and we just picked it up and planned the party after the tennis was over,” said SIU head coach Brett Bridel.


Taillerfer’s teammates wasted no time digging into the cake but she was able to snatch it away before it was completely consumed. But Taillerfer’s quest to take what was rightfully hers left one very important person out in the cold.

“I didn’t even get to taste any of it,” Bridel said.

But Bridel was able to savor SIU’s 12 wins against Eastern Illinois, Western Illinois and Southeast Missouri State in the Saluki Fall Classic.

SIU notched eight singles victories with junior Maria Blanco and freshmen Joana Hornestam and Laura Bredniak taking two singles matches apiece.

Hornestam took her individual success into doubles play as she teamed with junior Zuzana Palovic for two of the Salukis’ four doubles victories.

The Salukis had the second-most wins behind EIU, which earned 14.

Due to rain Friday, SIU played two singles matches against WIU and EIU, and a doubles match against SEMO in Saturday’s condensed schedule. The Salukis competed in both singles and doubles only against WIU.


“We need to get on the court, play a lot of matches so we can gain experience, and we’re going to be able to take that experience into the spring,” said Bridel, the first-year coach.

The Saluki Classic was the third competition of the fall season for SIU. The Salukis competed in the Evansville Invitational Sept. 24 and 25 and the Missouri Valley Conference Individual Tournament last weekend.

Blanco and Hornestam lead the team with 6-1 and 6-2 records. Taillerfer and Bredniak are both 5-2.

“The MVC is stronger competition than the non-conference matches, but I still did well in those,” Taillerfer said. “I just know that I have to step it up and play harder.”

Bridel said the goals of the fall season are to strengthen team unity and improve in doubles competition for the spring.

“We’re improving all the time,” Bridel said. “I think we’ve made good strides since the beginning of the season.”

The Salukis will play their fourth and final fall tournament this weekend at the Memphis Invitational.