Panthers impress in win over Dayton

Bob Reynolds, Sports Editor

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The Eastern women’s tennis team got its first win of the season on Saturday as it defeated Dayton 4-3 in Terre Haute, Ind.

Junior Ali Foster and Sophomore Hannah Kimbrough picked up wins in singles matches to seal the victory for the Panthers and coach John Blackburn was most impressed with that.

“Ali Foster and Hannah Kimbrough’s three set wins in singles that clinched the team win for us were great efforts,” he said. “They both showed a lot of physical and mental toughness in long matches, which is a positive sign early in the season.”

In the No. 4 singles match Foster defeated Jackie Kawamoto in three sets, 7-6, 4-6,

6-4 and Kimbrough defeated Katie Shepherd in three sets as well, 6-2, 5-7, 6-2.

In the final winning singles match for the Panthers, Kelly Iden defeated Alex Townsend in straight sets, 6-2, 6-1 in the No 2. match.

Grace Summers, Sephora Boulbahaiem and Kamile Stadalninkaite were all defeated in singles matches.

In the No. 1 match, Marlys Bridgham defeated Summers, 6-3,6-4. In the No. 3 match Carly Peck defeated Boulbahaiem, 6-1,6-3. In the No. 5 match, Mandy Marchant defeated Standalninkaite, 7-6,7-5.

In the three double’s matches the Panthers won the first two and the last match was not completed.

The duo of Boulbahaiem and Summers defeated Bridgham and Marchant, 6-4. In the No. 2 doubles match Foster and Kimbrough defeated Peck and Shepherd. The match of Iden and Stadalninkaite against Kawamoto and Townsend did not finish.

In last week’s match the Panthers lost 6-1 against Indiana and the Panthers were defeated in every match but one. Grace Summers won her singles match and that was it for the Panthers.

With the different results in the past two weeks, Blackburn thinks his team has improved.

“I think we’ve taken a lot of positive steps since the first match,” he said. “Our play in the big point has improved, and I think all three doubles teams took some steps forward too.”

On Saturday, the Panthers will be heading to Illinois State to take on the Redbirds at the Evergreen Racquet Club in Normal, Ill.

Heading into that match, Blackburn said the win over Dayton should be a big help moving forward.

“I think anytime we can pull through for a win in a close match it’s a big confidence booster that we can play well in big moments, which should pay off down the road,” he said.”

 

Bob Reynolds can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].