Daily Egyptian

Women’s tennis team ventures to Colorado

By Gabriella Scibetta

SIU Women’s tennis will head to the mountains to kick off its season.

Coming off a nine-match win streak in 2013, the Salukis travel to Boulder, Colo., Thursday for the four-day Colorado Fall Invite for their season debut.

Head coach Audra Anderson said the team had balance last season and that helped its success.

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“If someone had an off day, you had others that were very consistent and still strong,” she said.

The team had two seniors last season, Korey Love and Anita Lee. Love was only able to compete in doubles matches because of a knee issue, Anderson said.

“We actually only lost one singles player, although she was a very steady, consistent player,” she said. “Losing one senior in the singles lineup but gaining four freshmen, we hope someone is able to slide into that spot.”

Anderson said sophomore Meagan Monaghan was pretty equal to Lee and looks stronger this season.

The twins, seniors Gisela and Ariadna Cairo Baza played No. 4 and No. 6 singles last season and both look stronger this year, Anderson said.

“The challenge I give them over the summer is to get better, for us to have a better team, the returners have to get better,” Anderson said. “You can’t just depend on the freshman coming in to fill in those holes.”

Anderson said the upperclassmen are in great shape and challenge the freshmen for spots in the lineup.

Monaghan said she has grown both on and off the court.

“Off the court, I think I’ve definitely grown as a leader, I’ve grown into a leadership role and not being so afraid to talk and cheering for the team,” Monaghan said.

She said she developed her mental and physical game by not shying away from hitting the ball.

“Mental [game] is half the battle and I think I’ve grown being stronger out there by staying calm,” Monaghan said.

Monaghan said she thinks about the team more than herself.

“You have to start thinking not so individual, it’s not all about me anymore,” she said. “I have to do well in practice to make everyone better.”

Gisela said she has more expectations for herself this year. She expects to help the freshman because she knows what it is like to be in their position.

“I am going to do the best I can, and I’m going to enhance the team, because it’s my last year,” Gisela said.

She said her goal this season is to win conference, and is working hard to get there.

“I’m playing as hard as I can, I always do that, but I’m practicing as much as I can,” Gisela said.

She said the team is strong and it could earn great results.

Freshmen Athena Chrysanthou, from London, and Hannah Wich, from Hainburg, Germany, said they are excited to be on the team.

“We are really excited just to meet everyone new on the team because we are freshmen and learning from the upperclassmen, and seeing how they compete in tournaments and how it works,” Chrysanthou said.

She said there are great girls on the team who support and guide them as international students.

“It’s a great team full of great people,” Wich said. “… in a great university.”

Monaghan said she is excited for the season and thinks the team will have success in Boulder.

“I’m so excited, I’m from Colorado,” Monaghan said. “So I’m going to my hometown and we’re just going to kill it.”

Gabriella Scibetta can be reached at [email protected] or @gscibetta_DE on twitter or 536-3311 ext. 256

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