The women’s tennis team outlasted the University of Troy to win 44-43 at the Big Easy Tournament in New Orleans Sunday.
Senior Melanie Delsart won two matches on her way to the flight one singles championship, where she was defeated 7-6 (6), 1-6 and 6-4 by Norfolk State’s Parija Maloo. Freshman Abigail Plecki also had a productive tournament and finished with three singles victories and a flight three consolation championship.
Sophomore Natasha Tomishima and senior Jennifer Dien won two doubles matches before their semi-finals defeat. The duo of Delsart and senior Anastacia Simons also dominated the competition as they won the flight one doubles championship over Troy’s team.
Coach Audra Nothwehr said she was impressed by the team’s performance.
“We played some pretty tough competition and we won … When we did lose, we lost by a small margin,” she said. “We’re almost where we need to be as a team.”
Plecki said diligent practice helped her to play as well as she expected.
“You practice like how you play,” she said. “The drills were really intense in practice, but that intensity helped me.”
Nothwehr said Plecki’s performance was top-notch, especially because she is a freshman.
“Abigail played better in the tournament than she did in practice all week,” she said. “I’m really proud of her.”
With the least amount of experience on the team, Plecki said she didn’t expect to have such a large influence on the team’s tournament victory.
Dien said the team was able to keep its poise even in the face of adversity.
“We weren’t used to the hot sun in New Orleans, but we were able to keep our composure when things weren’t going our way,” she said. “We showed really good sportsmanship the entire tournament.”
Nothwehr said officials and other teams complimented the Salukis on their “team togetherness.”
Dien, who won two singles matches and two doubles matches, said the tournament success will be helpful for the rest of the season.
“Battling against the sun over the weekend will help us for similar matches,” she said. “I really think this win will better prepare all of us for (MVC) individuals.”
Junior Anita Lee said the team can learn a lot from its difficult matches this weekend.
“There were a ton of tough teams out there, but we did a good job of fighting back and staying in matches while being classy at the same time,” she said.
The Salukis will compete next at the MVC Individual Championships Oct. 5-7 in Wichita, Kan.