Salukis battle through minor setbacks

By Symone Woolridge

Competing in their third consecutive competition of the season, the Saluki women traveled to St. Louis for their toughest battle thus far.

During the three-day Missouri Valley Conference Individual Championship, junior Natasha Tomishima and senior Korey Love ended their Sunday with a flight No. 1 doubles championship win defeating Wichita State 8-5.

Tomishima and Love have had different doubles partners in previous competitions. But during the MVC matches, the women began to get the feel for each other.

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“At first I wasn’t sure about us working together just because I know we are alike in many ways,“ Tomishima said. “It was awesome for us to pull out a win and to know we both battled through it.”

Tomishima missed the first tournament due to an illness. She said she is still experiencing some issues, but has pushed herself to compete as hard as she possibly can.

“I was feeling extremely sick but I kept pushing myself,” she said. “Every match I played I wasn’t sure if I was going to win but I was sure I was going to fight.”

After a drawn out three-hour singles match, Tomishima immediately began her doubles match with her teammate Love.

“It was a big fight, I can’t even describe the feeling,” Tomishima said. “I was just so tired, but knowing we came out with the win is great.”

Head Coach Audra Anderson said Tomishima and Love stepped up for the team.

“They played big when we needed them to and won some big matches,” Anderson said in a Saluki Athletics press release. “For them it was about playing the crucial points well.”

Love has also been competing through an injury. Love has patellar tracking disorder, where the kneecap shifts out of place as the leg bends or straightens. This makes it even harder for Love to compete to her full potential.

“There is a bad burning sensation in my knee,” Love said. “A week ago I couldn’t play both singles and doubles so it was kind of a stretch to even play doubles this weekend.”

Love was taken out of singles matches during the weekend, but successfully battled with Tomishima. In each of the three doubles matches, the doubles tandem began their battle in the losing position.

“We started off losing every time, but we just battled ourselves back up to play hard like we know we can,” Love said.

Love said she and Tomishima connects as a team on and off of the court.

“I think we work really well together because we’re both kind of feisty,” Love said. “She is just a bundle of energy and I’m really vocal when I play so we bring out the best of each other.”

This is Love’s last year playing SIU tennis and her personal goals are to get healthy and end the year with an MVC Championship win.

Senior Anita Lee also ended her MVC weekend with a successful win. Lee defeated Ariel Dechter of Bradley 7-5, 6-4 to take home a flight No. 2 singles championship.

“I was a little nervous because it is my senior year and we were hit with tough competition,” Lee said. “But I was excited and pulled it out for a good win for my last fall season.”

Anderson said Lee did a great job and consistently stayed in control.

“She was always in control of her matches,” Anderson said. “She was able to keep calm and play big when she needed to.”

Lee said her teammates have played a huge role in her game by constantly cheering her on and giving her confidence.

“My teammates are always supporting each other and cheering for each other and that helps a lot,” Lee said.

Tomishima also said her teammates have made her a tougher competitor as she competes after her illness.

“Even though I felt really sick in my matches, my teammates encourage me so much that I just want to push myself even harder,” Tomishima said.

The Saluki women will compete in a five-day Intercollegiate Tennis Association Regional Championship in Oklahoma beginning Oct. 17.

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