Women’s tennis team begins conference play


Jason Howell

Sophomore Grace Summers returns the ball during her single’s match against Olivet Nazarene’s Viktoria Monakhova on Oct. 6 at the Darling Courts.

Maria Baldwin, Staff Reporter

The Eastern Illinois Women’s Tennis team is set to compete on Friday against Tennessee State at the APSU Indoor Tennis Center in Clarksville, Tenn.

The match originally scheduled on Saturday against Belmont in Nashville, Tenn. has been postponed to a later date yet to be determined.

Panther’s women’s tennis coach John Blackburn expects all conference matches to be tightly contested.

“The biggest thing we focus on regarding opponents is these matches are an Ohio Valley Conference match,” he said. “We expect all conference matches to be exciting.”

Thus far, junior Ali Foster leads Eastern in singles matches with an overall record of 7-1. Senior Sephora Boulbahaiem and freshman Grace Summers each have a 4-4 record overall in singles matches.

In the doubles spectrum, Foster and junior Hannah Kimbrough lead the Panthers with a doubles teams overall record of 6-2, with Boulbahaiem and Summers following closely with an overall record of 5-2.

Blackburn would like to see his girls focus on bringing a strong mental and physical effort to both of these matches.

“We are always looking to improve on our doubles play,” Blackburn said. “That is a big factor in starting the matches.’’

Last week the Panthers traveled to the Danville Tennis Center where they defeated Chicago State 5-2. Iden, Foster, Kimbrough, and Stadalninkaite picked up singles match wins in their respective competitions for the Panthers.

The Panthers swept the competition in the doubles teams matches with teams of Summers and Boulbahaiem, Foster and Kimbrough, and Iden and Stadalninkaite defeating their competitors.

Blackburn is excited to see what his Panthers are going to bring to the court.

‘’We’re very excited to start conference matches, so I think both of these matches will be very big for us,” he said.


Maria Baldwin can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].