Daily Egyptian

Women’s tennis wins third straight

By Tyler Davis

Despite the three losses the SIU women’s tennis team began the season with, they capped off a successful weekend Sunday with a win over Murray State University, pushing their winning streak to three games.

The team also won at home Saturday against Chicago State, 4-2.

The Salukis dropped the doubles point against the Cougars, making them 0-5 on the year in doubles decisions, a strength for the team last semester.

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Coach Audra Anderson said losing the doubles point is a new problem the team needs to figure out.

“The doubles point is something in the past we’ve been really strong at,” Anderson said. “It just hasn’t clicked for us yet this year.”

In singles play, SIU lost just one match, with wins by No. 2 freshman Meagan Monaghan, and No. 3 junior Anita Lee, leading the way.

Junior Ariadna Cairo Baza, and freshmen Polina Dozortseva and Lauren Hoekstra also won their singles matches, clinching a win for SIU.

The Salukis started Sunday off by winning two of the three doubles matches, earning their first doubles point of the year. The team then clinched the victory by winning the top three singles matches.

Anderson said the team’s early season struggles in doubles play improved Sunday.

“We have kind of been struggling with the doubles and getting the doubles point,” she said. “Today’s win (in doubles) was big, I was really happy with the doubles.”

Anderson said part of the reason for the win was the decision to switch up the pairs.

“We actually switched up the doubles teams today which was kind of scary because we haven’t practiced too much with those doubles teams,” she said. “But it ended up working in our favor.”

One of the bigger adjustments Anderson made was breaking up the duo that won the MVC Doubles Championship last semester, junior Natasha Tomishima and senior Korey Love.

Instead, Love was paired with Cairo Baza and Tomishima was paired with Monaghan. Love and Baza took their match 8-1, while Tomishima and Monaghan’s was a bit closer, with the Dawgs taking it 8-6.

Tomishima said the changes in the lineup could be effective because of the differences in playing styles between her and Monaghan.

“We changed the people in doubles to see if it would be a better combination,” Tomishima said. “(Monaghan) is a more consistent person, and I’m more at the net.”

The duo’s victory was just one of three wins for Monaghan this weekend. The Colorado native defeated senior Carla Suga of Murray State to run her singles winning streak to four matches.

Monaghan said she is happy to be playing well, but still sees areas where she can improve.

“There is still things I need to work on, like maybe mixing up the ball a little bit, or some slices, and definitely my serve,” Monaghan said. “But I feel like I’m playing good tennis just have to go back and keep working.”

Monaghan was not the only Saluki with a big win against the Racers. Lee beat nationally ranked, Eleonore Tchakarova in the No. 3 singles slot, 7-5, 6-2.

“It was nice to not know that she was nationally ranked before I played her because it could have put more pressure on me,” Lee said. “I’m happy that I got the opportunity to play someone that good and to come out with a win.”

Tomishima also had a big win, beating a former Mexican National Champion, junior Andrea Eskauriatza, 7-5. They only played one set before Eskauriatza retired because of injury.

Anderson said she was happy with her team’s solid play against tough opponents.

“I think Natty handled herself very well,” Anderson said. “And then Meagan is just on a roll, really exciting to see. Ari played much better today. Overall, I think we’re happy.”

The team will put its three-match winning streak on the line Friday against Arkansas State University, a team Anderson said should be tough.

“They’ve beat us in the past and we need to be ready for them,” she said. “We’ve got to bring our A-game next weekend.”

Friday’s match will start at 5 p.m. at Garden Grove Event Center in Carbondale.

Tyler Davis can be reached at [email protected]

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