Women’s tennis hosts Olivet Nazarene

Sean Hastings, Staff Reporter

The Eastern women’s tennis team will continue its fall season on Monday, hosting Olivet Nazarene at 3 p.m. at Darling Courts.

The match will consist of six singles matches and three doubles matches.

Eastern has seven players on its roster, which means they will all not be able to compete in singles and doubles.

The Panthers have not played a match since Sept. 14, when they wrapped up the SIU Edwardsville Invitational, where they were able to win the No. 1 doubles title.

Monday’s match against Olivet Nazarene will be the women’s first match at Darling Courts since 2013. Eastern played most of its home matches at Charleston High School.

The Darling Courts were renovated during the summer.

John Blackburn, Eastern’s director of tennis and women’s coach, said he is excited to have his team finally play at home once again.

“We’re just really thankful and grateful that the administration’s given us a great facility and we’re looking forward to playing at home,” Blackburn said.

As far as playing goes, Blackburn said he wants all the players to be more consistent and always be at the top of their game.

“In the first tournament we had some excellent performances then we might follow it up with a not so strong performance,” Blackburn said.

He also knows that their “good” is plenty good, they just want to make their worst days or moments not so low.

“Make C your worst grade, not a D,” he said.

Tennis is an individualized sport, so someone’s best part of his or her game will be different from someone else’s. But as a whole, Blackburn said the team is at its best when they all put pressure on its opponents.

Eastern juniors Ali Foster and Hannah Kimbrough said they are confident with their games going into the match on Monday.

The junior duo tallied a 3-1 doubles record in Edwardsville, defeating pairings from the hosting Edwardsville, Western Illinois and Evansville.

Their main focus for Monday’s match is to be mentally strong because they know that their games are there, it is just whether if their minds are there or not Foster and Kimbrough said. They also want to make sure that they are controlling the point.

Olivet Nazarene has a young team with only two juniors on its roster. The rest of the roster is comprised of six sophomores and three freshmen.

Last year, the Tigers finished 13-6, which included a 4-3 road record.

Eastern practiced Tuesday and will continue through Friday to make sure it is ready for its lone home match of the fall season.

Sean Hastings can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]