The women’s tennis team won two individual titles at the Missouri Valley Conference Championships during the weekend.
After a slow start to the No. 1 singles championship match against Wichita State junior Veronika Blaskova, senior Melanie Delsart kept her composure and went on to win the match 3-6, 6-2, 6-3. She then defeated sophomore Jennie Hartjes of Creighton University 6-0, 6-3 and toppled Drake University’s junior Klavdija Rebol 6-0, 7-6 in the championship round.
The No. 2 doubles championships went to the senior-sophomore duo of Jennifer Dien and Natasha Tomishima. The two started their run to the championship by beating Drake’s team 8-4 and then Illinois State’s team 8-5. In the championship match, the two defeated host team Wichita State 8-4.
Dien said the team’s chemistry helped improve her tournament play.
“Naty and I played well together; the team played well,” she said. “Everyone cheered each other on, and that really went a long way in keeping everyone motivated.”
Dien said she has enjoyed every year as a Saluki, but this year has been special.
“I’ve grown so much here over the years,” she said. “This is my last year on the team, and I want to go out with a bang. Beating Witchita State proves that they aren’t the top team in the MVC anymore … Every week we go out there to show our fans that we are the best, and every week we go out there and give our best.”
Senior Anastacia Simons, who finished third in No. 2 doubles, said the team showed its heart at the tournament.
“No one gave up, even though it was cold and we weren’t really used to that type of weather,” she said. “We showed that we had a lot of spirit.”
Simons said she left it all on the court and tried her best to make her opponents work hard for everything.
“I tried to go out there and fight, and at the same time be consistant and steady,” she said. “I went out there and made people fight for points against me.”
Simons said the team must not allow recent success to keep it from preparing just as hard.
“We have to keep working hard in the weight room, keep working hard on the practice court,” she said. “The season isn’t over yet.”
Freshman Abigail Plecki said the weekend’s intensity was something she tried to anticipate.
“There was more intensity out there, more than some of the other tournaments, but I still went out and played my game,” she said.
Plecki said she attributes the team’s camaraderie to coach Audra Nothwehr.
“She had been really talking to us about being a family this week,” she said. “We went out and proved that we were.”
The Saluki tennis team will return to action Sunday at Carbondale High School for the Fall Classic.