SIU women’s tennis sweeps Missouri State in final home match in program history

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SIU women’s tennis sweeps Missouri State in final home match in program history

Saluki senior Polina Dozortseva, left, and junior Vitoria Beirao embrace Saturday, April 15, 2017, following Dozortseva’s singles match. The Salukis beat the Missouri State Bears 6-1 during the final home tennis match in program history at the University Courts. (Bill Lukitsch | @lukitsbill)

Saluki senior Polina Dozortseva, left, and junior Vitoria Beirao embrace Saturday, April 15, 2017, following Dozortseva’s singles match. The Salukis beat the Missouri State Bears 6-1 during the final home tennis match in program history at the University Courts. (Bill Lukitsch | @lukitsbill)

Saluki senior Polina Dozortseva, left, and junior Vitoria Beirao embrace Saturday, April 15, 2017, following Dozortseva’s singles match. The Salukis beat the Missouri State Bears 6-1 during the final home tennis match in program history at the University Courts. (Bill Lukitsch | @lukitsbill)

Saluki senior Polina Dozortseva, left, and junior Vitoria Beirao embrace Saturday, April 15, 2017, following Dozortseva’s singles match. The Salukis beat the Missouri State Bears 6-1 during the final home tennis match in program history at the University Courts. (Bill Lukitsch | @lukitsbill)

By Jonathan Thompson

A large crowd gathered at the University Courts Saturday to watch the SIU women’s tennis team one last time as the Salukis beat the Missouri State Bears 6-1.

Southern (9-11, 3-2 MVC) won all but one match in its 6-1 victory over the Bears.

“You’ve got to bring players down a little bit because they’re so wound up,” said coach Audra Anderson. “So the message was go out there and have fun. The win or loss doesn’t matter as much as long as you have fun.”

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SIU won all three doubles matches to clinch the doubles point.

Senior Ana Sofia Cordero and junior Xiwei Cai took down the Bears 6-2 at the number one position for their fourth conference victory.

At position three doubles, senior Polina Dozortseva and junior Athena Chrysanthou won 6-2. The duo is undefeated in conference play.

With SIU having already clinched the doubles point, senior Meagan Monaghan and junior Vitoria Beirao won in a deciding set tiebreak 7-6 (4) at position two, giving SIU its first doubles sweep of the conference season.

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  • Junior Athena Chrysanthou reacts to winning a point during her singles match against Missouri State junior Anelisse Torrico Moreno during the Salukis’ 6-1 win against the Bears on Saturday, April 15, 2017, at the University Courts. Chrysanthou won her match 4-6, 6-2 and 10-5 in a deciding tiebreaker. “It’s always good to see a teammate win especially when it’s tight and their the last one,” said senior Ana Sofia Cordero when asked about Chrysanthou’s win. “It’s just another special moment to add to this day." The match marked the last home match in Saluki tennis history after it was announced in January that the men’s and women’s tennis teams would be eliminated effective July 1. “It hasn’t really hit us I think that it’s over,” Cordero said. “But it was very touching because we’ll never play here again.” (Jacob Wiegand | @jawiegandphoto)

  • Junior Vitoria Beirao jumps to embrace senior Meagan Monaghan after winning their doubles match 7-6 (4) on Saturday, April 15, 2017, against Missouri State at the University Courts. The Salukis beat the Bears 6-1. (Anna Spoerre | @annaspoerre)

  • Junior Vitoria Beirao prepares to hit the ball during her doubles match with teammate senior Meagan Monaghan during the Salukis’ 6-1 win against the Bears on Saturday, April 15, 2017, at the University Courts. Beirao and Monaghan won the match 7-6(4). (Jacob Wiegand | @jawiegandphoto)

  • Senior Meagan Monaghan calls the ball out Saturday, April 15, 2017, during the Salukis’ 6-1 win against the Missouri State Bears at the University Courts. (Bill Lukitsch | @lukitsbill)

  • Senior Ana Sofia Cordero returns the tennis ball during her singles match against Missouri State freshman Alye Darter on Saturday, April 15, 2017, at the University Courts. Cordero lost the match, but the Salukis beat Missouri State by an overall score of 6-1. (Bill Lukitsch | @lukitsbill)

  • Senior Ana Sofia Cordero reacts during her singles match against Missouri State Bears freshman Alye Darter on Saturday, April 15, 2017, at the University Courts. Cordero lost the match, but the Salukis beat Missouri State by an overall score of 6-1. (Bill Lukitsch | @lukitsbill)

  • Sophomore Caroline Taty and junior Yana Golovkina share a moment during junior Athena Chrysanthou’s singles match on Saturday, April 15, 2017, against Missouri State at the University Courts. Chrysanthou won the match 4-6, 6-2 and 10-5 in a deciding tiebreaker. The Salukis beat the Bears 6-1. (Anna Spoerre | @annaspoerre)

  • Senior Polina Dozortseva hits a serve in her singles match against Missouri State junior Abbey Belote during the Salukis’ 6-1 win against the Bears on Saturday, April 15, 2017, at the University Courts. Dozortseva won the match 6-4, 6-4. The match marked the last home match in Saluki tennis history after it was announced in January that the men’s and women’s tennis teams would be eliminated effective July 1. (Jacob Wiegand | @jawiegandphoto)

  • Junior Vitoria Beirao celebrates after winning a point during her singles match on Saturday, April 15, 2017, against Missouri State at the University Courts. She won the match 6-4, 6-4. The Salukis beat the Bears 6-1. (Anna Spoerre | @annaspoerre)

  • Members of the SIU women’s tennis team cheer for junior Athena Chrysanthou at the University Courts on Saturday, April 15, 2017, during the final home match in the program’s history. Chrysanthou won the match 4-6, 6-2 and 10-5 in a deciding tiebreaker. The Salukis beat Missouri State 6-1. (Anna Spoerre | @annaspoerre)

  • Junior Athena Chrysanthou hits a backhand during her singles match against Missouri State junior Anelisse Torrico Moreno on Saturday, April 15, 2017, at the University Courts. Chrysanthou won the final home match in program history 4-6, 6-2 and 10-5 in a deciding tiebreaker. (Branda Mitchell | @branda_mitchell)

  • Junior Athena Chrysanthou embraces graduate assistant coach Raluca Mita on Saturday, April 15, 2017, following the Salukis' 6-1 win against the Missouri State Bears at the University Courts. Chrysanthou won the last match of the day, beating Missouri State junior Anelisse Torrico Moreno by a score of 4-6, 6-2 and 10-5 in a deciding tiebreaker. (Bill Lukitsch | @lukitsbill)

  • Saluki senior Vitoria Beirao, left, junior Xiwei Cai and junior Yana Golovkina embrace Saturday, April 15, 2017, during the Salukis’ final tennis game at the University Courts. The Salukis beat the Missouri State Bears 6-1 during the last home match in program history. (Bill Lukitsch | @lukitsbill)

  • Senior Polina Dozortseva and junior Athena Chrysanthou embrace on Saturday, April 15, 2017, during a senior day awards ceremony following the final home match in program history. In January, SIU athletics announced that it would cut the men’s and women’s tennis teams effective July 1. (Anna Spoerre | @annaspoerre)

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For the first time this season all three seniors won their doubles matches.

The Salukis went on to win five of their six singles matches.

Cordero lost at the No.1 singles position, giving Missouri State its only point of the day.

Monaghan stayed undefeated in the MVC with her 6-2, 6-2 victory at the No. 4 position.

Cai won her match 6-2, 6-2 along with Beirao and Dozortseva who won their matches in straight sets.

Chrysanthou won the final match of the afternoon — with teammates and fans cheering her on — for the final victory on Saluki courts. Despite losing the first set 4-6, she won the next set 6-2 and 10-5 in the deciding third set tiebreak.

Chrysanthou’s victory was her fourth in MVC play, tying her with Monaghan for the most on team.

At the end of the match, three seniors were recognized alongside the rest of their teammates for their role in the final season of SIU tennis.

“Our favorite memories will be on this court,” Anderson said. “When the fans really show up on senior days or at big matches they really pull us through from 4-3 wins or when it came down to a last match.”

In January, SIU athletics announced the men’s and women’s tennis teams would be cut, effective July 1, as the result of a historic state budget impasse soon approaching its second year.

“It’s obviously a devastating time for us,” the coach of ten seasons said. “We’re closing the doors to this [program]. I hope that the girls will take the life lessons they’ve learned on the tennis court and apply them to life … like you have to show up every day with your best and that’s what you gave to do in life.”

The Salukis have two matches left in conference play — the first is against Northern Iowa at 1 p.m on Saturday.

Coach Anderson said “UNI is always a hard road match,” adding that she wants the team to focus on “working the doubles points and bringing energy to the match.”

Staff writer Jonathan Thompson can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @TheReal_Jt3.

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