Tennis team gets off to strong start

Chris Picazo, Staff Reporter

The Eastern women’s tennis team played a strong 2013-14 season ending with an overall record of 11-6 and placing fifth out of 11 teams in the Ohio Valley Conference.

The team is hoping to improve on that success for the 2014-15 season and have started strong compiling a 2-1 record thus far.

Coach John Blackburn said the team had confidence coming into the season after a solid showing in the fall.

 “The team was confident going into the season,” Blackburn said. “They had some good performances in the fall and we returned 5 of 6 starters from a solid team last year.”

Through three matches, the team has obtained a 4-3 win against University of Dayton and a 6-1 win against Illinois State University.

The team’s confidence has increased from match to match and has helped the team with the competition.

“The success we’ve had in three matches, all against good teams, has definitely built the confidence,” Blackburn said.

With strong performances from all players in different situations, Blackburn said it is difficult to say who has been most impressive for the season.

Blackburn said he has noticed improvements in the team, which has helped bring victories.

“I think our junior class of Hannah Kimbrough and Ali Foster have definitely taken a step forward, along with our some of our sophomores such as Kelly Iden and Kamile Stadalninkaite,” Blackburn said. “I definitely think we have been attacking some different areas and seeing some progress.”

Kimbrough and Foster are also doubles partners and have had success in obtaining a 6-2 score against Dayton and a 6-1 victory against Illinois State.  The pair also had strong outing against Indiana but lost with a score of 6-3.

Kimbrough and Foster have also had success in singles matches.

Kimbrough obtained a 6-2, 5-7, 6-2 win against Dayton and a 1-6, 7-6 (7-4), 10-5 win against Illinois State.

Foster obtained a 7-6, 4-6, 6-4 win against Dayton and a 6-2, 6-1 win against Illinois State.

Iden and Stadalninkaite are doubles partners as well. They have had strong outings in doubles, but were not able to finish matches against Dayton and Illinois State.

In singles, Iden was able to obtain a 6-2, 6-1 win against Dayton and Stadalninkaite obtained a 6-2, 6-2 win against Illinois State.

With the success the team has had so far, Blackburn is satisfied with how the team has played against other teams.

“It’s been a great start to the season so far, but it’s still early in the year and we’re looking to keep building,” Blackburn said.

Blackburn hopes the team’s success continues and says the team has set a goal for the 2014-15 season to finish even stronger than the 2013-14 season.

“Our goal is to be a mentally and physically tough team that keeps improving as the season goes along and we’re doing a good job chasing that goal so far,” Blackburn said.

Chris Picazo can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].