The SIU women’s tennis team enters its spring break tournament on a hot streak after beating Southeastern Missouri State University 6-1 overall for the team’s third straight victory.
The meet, held Tuesday in Cape Girardeau, Mo., kicked off the first of five straight meets on the road for the Saluki women. It was also the team’s first road meet outdoors, and Coach Audra Nothwehr said last week after facing Murray State University, the adjustment would be more difficult for some players than others.
“You kind of forget about the strategies with the wind when you’re playing indoors. With Jenn (Dien), she’s got to move a lot more because she attacks a lot, and her ball doesn’t go high over the net,” Nothwehr said. “Any little movement with the wind affects her game more than players like the (Cairo Baza) twins or Melanie (Delsart), who put a lot of topspin on their ball.”
The players continued to make adjustments as the meet started with a sweep of the doubles matches. No. 1 seed partners sophomore Korey Love and junior Melanie Delsart won 8-4. The No. 2-seeded match was much closer, as junior Jennifer Dien and freshman Natasha Tomishima needed a tiebreak set to win their match 8-7, 7-2. At the three seed, freshman twin sisters Ariadna and Gisela Cairo Baza won their match 8-3.
In singles play, the Salukis dropped only one match against the Redhawks during the meet.
Delsart bounced back from last week’s performance, when she had to retire in the third set, winning 6-3, 6-1, as the No. 1 singles seed. No. 2 singles sophmore Anita Lee defeated her opponent 6-1, 7-5, and No. 3 Dien defeated her opponent 6-3, 6-3.
No. 4 singles Tomishima defeated her opponent 6-2, 6-2, but fifth seed Ariadna Cairo Baza lost in a close match 6-4, 6-4. Sixth seed junior Anastacia Simons gave the Salukis the most dominant performance of the meet, crushing her opponent 6-1, 6-1, as the Salukis claimed the overall victory.
Nothwehr said last week that the team would be well-suited for away matches.
“It’s always great to have a crowd to cheer us on, but we’ve learned how to cheer for ourselves,” Nothwehr said. “Depending on where you are, you don’t have a lot of fans. We started out on the road, so we’re comfortable on the road.”
The Salukis return to action Mar. 13 to 15 in a spring break tournament in Orlando, Fla. The Salukis will face the New Jersey Institute of Technology to open the tournament, North Dakota University in the second day and Rhode Island University to end the competition.