The Eastern women’s tennis team (4-3) will be facing Chicago State University (2-8) at 1 p.m. Saturday on the Darling Courts.
The team is coming off a winning weekend having beat Butler University 5-2 on Friday and Western Illinois University 7-0 on Saturday.
Women’s tennis coach John Blackburn said the wins over weekend gave the team a confidence boost in preparation for the match against Chicago State.
“The team felt very positive about the wins over the weekend; the match against Butler was tightly contested,” Blackburn said. “I thought the team did well in the critical moments of the match, which is a big confidence booster.”
Freshman Grace Summers defeated Butler freshman Bailey Padgett 1-6, 7-5, 7-5. Junior Ali Foster defeated sophomore Kailey Eaton 6-2, 7-6.
Junior Hannah Kimbrough defeated senior Angelina Qin 6-3, 6-1; and sophomore Kamile Stadalninkaite defeated freshman Jordan Minnick 6-3, 6-4.
Summers and senior Sephora Boulbahaiem defeated sophomore Kylie Haviland and Eaton 7-5 in doubles. Sophomore Kelly Iden and Stadalninkaiteof defeated Qin and junior Michelle McFerran 6-2.
Unbeaten against Western
Iden defeated freshman Courtney Lubbers of 6-1, 6-2. Summers defeated sophomore Jenna Wallace 6-2, 6-4. Foster defeated freshman Arianna Demos 6-0, 6-0; Boulbahaiem defeated sophomore Nicole Jones of WIU 6-0, 6-1.
Stadalninkaite defeated sophomore Andriana Johnson 6-4, 6-0 and sophomore Maria Moshteva defeated sophomore Jamee Hale 6-0, 6-0.
Summers and Boulbahaiem defeated Lubbers and Wallace 6-2, 6-0 in doubles; Foster and Kimbrough defeated Demos and Jones 6-3; and Iden and Stadalninkaite defeated Johnson and Hale 6-0.
The Panthers are looking to grab the win against Chicago State and are preparing for Ohio Valley Conference play beginning March 13 against Tennessee State University in Nashville.
“We are focusing on playing a very good Chicago State team, but also focusing on preparing for OVC play at the same time,” Blackburn said. “We know Chicago St. will be a good match that will help us prepare for conference play.”
The team is also focusing on different aspects of the game compared to what they did against Butler and Western.
“I think the big focus change will be on preparing to play outdoor tennis in the OVC,” Blackburn said. “We can’t get on our courts due to all the snow yet, but there are some things we can do to prepare with how we practice.”
The Panthers are practicing hard for their match by focusing on big points, and are continuing to use matches as preparation for conference play.
“I think it will be a good match that could go either way, which are the matches that help us the most right now to get ready for conference play,” Blackburn said. “I think just playing the big points with focus and planning will give us the best chance to be successful.”
Chris Picazo can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]