The SIU women’s tennis team crushed Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville 6-1 Sunday, making the Salukis 9-0 in doubles play.
The meet, the first at home of the spring season, was held at the Sports Blast, where fans cheered on the Salukis. Coach Audra Nothwehr said her team fed off the crowd’s energy.
“They love being cheered for, especially in a place like this where you’ve got fans really close to the court,” Nothwehr said. “The girls start the cheering, and then the fans join in with it.”
The doubles sweep started with third-seeded partners junior Melanie Delsart and freshman Siera Hasler quickly disposing their opponents 8-1. Delsart said their chemistry helps them play well together on the court, and Hasler said execution was key as well.
“Our returns were really good, and we were coming to the net and working together,” Hasler said.
The No. 1-seeded doubles pair junior Jennifer Dien and freshman Natasha Tomishima won their match 8-3 and No. 2 seed junior Anastacia Simons and sophomore Anita Lee won 8-3, also.
Simons said the team came into the match focused on performing in front of its home crowd.
“I think everyone came in with the right mindset; we weren’t trying to be overconfident, we just wanted to do our best and that’s what helped us today,” Simons said.
In singles, the Saluki women were nearly able to pull off a complete sweep of the Cougars, winning all but one singles match.
No. 6-seeded Simons battled to win her match. The first set was a long affair, with several long volleys and difficult winners for Simons. After the first set, Simons said she remained confident of herself and went on to win the second set 6-1.
“I was just thinking that I have to try and be positive, keeping believing in myself and just knowing that I can do it,” Simons said.
Nothwehr said her team came together during the meet, but still can improve.
“There are some things we need to work on in singles, mainly returns, and the transition ball,” Nothwehr said.
With a young team void of any seniors, every match is valuable experience, Nothwehr said.
“I can see with our freshman that the nerves are still playing just a little bit. Slowly, with more matches, those are going away,” Nothwehr said. “The more confidence we can gain before we go into conference is going to play a big difference.”