Women’s tennis beats Olivet Nazarane


Kevin Hall

Freshman Grace Summers attempts to hit the ball in her tennis match against Olivet Nazarene Monday at the Darling Courts. Summers went on to win her match.

Sean Hastings, Staff Reporter

The Eastern women’s tennis team hosted Olivet Nazarene on the Darling Courts for the first time ever and came away with a 7-0 victory despite a couple of weather delays on Monday.

During the doubles portion of the match, there was a lightning delay that forced the teams to go into the field house and wait for 30 minutes before returning to action.

John Blackburn, Eastern’s director of tennis and women’s coach, said his team resumed play from the delay well prepared.

“We did a pretty good job coming out and being focused in unique circumstances,” Blackburn said.

During the delay, the team was standing around waiting to receive the call to go back out to play. Both teams were only given five minutes to rewarm up, prior to continuing the match.

Blackburn said that even though tennis is a team sport it is also very much an individual sport, and each player can respond differently to a delay.

Because of the stoppage, neither of the teams competed in the No. 3 and No. 6 singles matches, so they played a seven-point dual with all matches being worth one point.

Senior Sephora Boulbahaiem and freshman Grace Summers won their match at No. 1 doubles 6-0, giving Eastern a point, while the pairing of juniors Ali Foster and Hannah Kimbrough were also victorious at No. 2 doubles, winning 6-3 earning the Panthers second point.

In No. 1 singles, Summers defeated her opponent in straight sets 6-0, 6-0. Boulbahaiem also won her match, winning the first set 6-0, and then winning a close second set 7-6.

Foster won her singles match 6-2, 6-0 and Kimbrough also won her match 6-0, 6-2 both scoring one point each for the Panthers.

Sophomore Kamile Stadalninkaite did not compete in doubles, but won her singles match 6-0, 6-3.

“I was most pleased with the competitive spirit and intensity we played with through a couple weather delays that forced us to stop and start the match,” Blackburn said.

To start the day, Eastern did not get its usual warm up in and only warmed up against their opponents.

Overall, Blackburn was satisfied with the results.

“It was really exciting for us to get to play at our new facility for the first time today, I think it will be a great environment for tennis,” he said in a press release. “We had some tactical goals for (Monday) that I think we accomplished for the most part.”

Eastern’s next action is at the SIU Saluki Invitational Saturday in Carbondale. The Panthers will also have a trip to the ITA Regional that starts on Oct. 17, in Urbana-Champaign.

“We’re looking forward to playing again twice more within the next 10 days and continuing to improve,” Blackburn said.


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