Panthers ready to move forward after loss

Chris Picazo, Staff Reporter

The Eastern women’s tennis team is heading into matches against Tennessee-Martin and Southeast Missouri Friday and Saturday after a 7-0 loss to Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville Wednesday.

The team plans to move forward after the loss to Edwardsville to focus on its matches against UT-Martin and Southeast Missouri.

Women’s tennis coach John Blackburn gave credit to SIU-E for outplaying the team Wednesday.

“We have to give SIU-E a lot of credit,” Blackburn said. “They played extremely well, particularly in singles.”

Blackburn said the match against Edwardsville gives the team a takeaway message to help them move forward for the season.

“I think we really need to understand a few individual things that each player can learn and improve on from the last match,” Blackburn said. “After that, put it behind us and come out with a lot of energy and confidence this weekend.”

Junior Ali Foster also suffered her first loss since facing Indiana University on Jan. 25, and she is looking to have a quick turnaround.

“For this weekend coming up, I will remember what I did in my match against Murray that worked really well and apply it my upcoming matches,” Foster said. “Also, learn from my match against SIU-E and know what changes I have to make.”

Foster has had a successful season thus far with only two losses, and credits her success by taking control of the match from the beginning, preventing her opponent to do so.

Foster said the team will look forward to its matches against UT-Martin and Southeast Missouri and not worry about the match against SIU-E.

“Team wise, we will not stress over our loss or continue to hang our heads about our match against SIU-E,” she said. “We know how good we are, and that we are capable of more.”

With a loss to SIU-E, the Panthers record for Ohio Valley Conference play is now 3-1, dropping them into fifth place in conference standings.

UT-Martin is coming off a 7-0 loss against Murray State Tuesday, giving them a 2-1 OVC record and placing them sixth in the conference.

Southeast Missouri is coming off a 5-2 loss to Jacksonville State giving them a 1-2 OVC record. They are placed seventh in the conference.

Blackburn said he hopes for a quick turnaround with their matches in order to get back on track for the season.

“The schedule keeps us busy this weekend, we need to recover quickly and be ready to play Friday afternoon and Saturday,” Blackburn said.

Foster also said this can act as a new start for the team.

“We know how hard we have been working this year, and will look at this weekend as a clean slate, and we will be excited,” Foster said.

Blackburn said the keys to obtaining the victories for the matches is for the team to play with confidence and determination for the entire duration of the match.  

The Panthers continue their season Friday against UT-Martin in Martin, Tenn. at 1 p.m. and Saturday against Southeast Missouri in Cape Girardeau, Mo. at 1 p.m.

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