Women’s tennis prepares for season through adjustments

Womens tennis prepares for season through adjustments

By Symone Woolridge

As the SIU tennis season quickly approaches, the Saluki women are preparing themselves for tough competition.

Last season the Salukis completed the year with an overall record of 19-5 and 6-1 in the Missouri Valley Conference.

This year, the Salukis are adjusting their game by adding three new freshmen, including one arriving in January.


Freshman Polina Dozortseva, from Russia, slowly continues to adapt to the culture differences on and off of the court.

Dozortseva finished high school over a year ago before she moved to the United States.

“It hasn’t been extremely hard to adjust, but being here is a bit different,” she said. “The country is different, the food is different and so are the people.”

In other countries, tennis is not always played the same as it is played here in the U.S.

“In Russia we don’t play exactly like we do here,” Dozortseva said. “The style in both places are the same, but back home we only play individuals.”

Dozortseva, along with her fellow teammates, are excited about their first season.

Lauren Hoekstra, a freshman from Effingham, said she has changed her game quite a bit since graduating high school.


“I’ve been lifting a lot of weights, much more than I did back at home,” she said.

Hoekstra, as well as her teammates, are looking forward to team bonding.

“It’s going to be awesome to spend a lot of time with my teammates, and the consistent traveling will make us closer as a team,” Hoekstra said.

Meagan Monaghan, a freshman from Denver, has been working to improve her game as a team player and an individual.

“To prepare for this season, I have been working on a lot of variety shots,” Monaghan said. “I’ve been playing solo for so long that I just hope to learn to work with others.”

The freshmen have been conditioning and working with match play to prepare for competition. As they practice long and hard, they are slowly but surely adapting to Carbondale’s environment.

“I come from altitude,” Monaghan said. “The humidity is something that I am not used to yet, but it’s coming,” Monaghan said.

Lately, the Salukis have been working through long practices in the scorching Carbondale weather.

“It gets extremely hot out here, but you learn to get used to it,” Coach Audra Anderson said.

Returning players along with freshmen have been working heavily to prepare for this season’s tough competition.

“They lift heavy, and it is intense,” Anderson said. “We’re training sometimes 3 1/2 hours a day with weights and practice, and that can kick your butt if you’re not in conditioning shape.”

The Salukis have been trying new game strategies to prepare for their first match of the season Friday in Las Vegas.

“I have been putting my freshmen with upperclassmen,” Anderson said. “I’ve matched them up in doubles for Las Vegas, and I think my freshmen will learn a lot.”

Anderson said she thinks the upperclassmen will be a huge guidance to the newcomers.

Lately, the Salukis have been practicing without key player, junior Natasha Tomishima, who has been out sick for nearly a week.

Due to Tomishima’s illness, Anderson is unsure if she will practice with the team, or even play in the Vegas tournament.

However, senior Anita Lee from Las Vegas will be traveling back to her hometown for the weekend.

“I’m really excited to go back home, all of my family and friends are there so hopefully we will have a support system that will come out and cheer us on,” Lee said.

Not only will the Salukis face national ranked competition, the Salukis also compete against stiffer competition later this season.

Before the team can defeat the big competition, Anderson said there are a few things the women need to develop and work on.

“We have the shots and the consistency, but we need to make better decision making,” Anderson said.

Anderson said the Salukis could be as good as they were last season, if not better.

“I would like to see a few more conference champions,” she said. “The big difference this year is we’re scheduling harder teams for the season.”

Although the women will not play all of the same teams they played last year, Anderson said hard competition would help the women get stronger and better as players.

“Not being afraid to play those big teams, and not being afraid to lose is what will help us,” Anderson said. “In the end, the overall goal is to win the conference to make it to nationals.”