Women’s tennis begins OVC tournament

Chris Picazo, Staff Reporter

The Eastern women’s tennis team (12-6) finished its regular season Saturday with a 5-2 loss against Eastern Kentucky and is now heading to Nashville, Tenn. for the Ohio Valley Conference tournament as a No. 5 seed.

Women’s tennis coach John Blackburn said the team is eager to compete in the OVC tournament.

“We are really excited about competing,” Blackburn said. “The venue in Nashville is awesome, so it should be a great atmosphere.”

The Panthers finished the season with a 7-3 record in OVC play, and they will be going up against No. 4 seed Southern Illinois-Edwardsville who also finished with an OVC record of 7-3.

This will be a rematch from March 25 when Edwardsville defeated the Panthers with a score of 7-0.

Blackburn said the team is ready for the first round rematch against Edwardsville.

“We’re excited about playing them,” Blackburn said. “We feel like we didn’t play our best match last time, and we think there is a lot of room for improvement.”

The winner between Eastern and Edwardsville will face No. 1 seed Murray State in the semifinal Saturday.

The Panthers defeated Murray in a close match with a score of 4-3 at home March 21.

The Panthers have had a successful season thus far and the team improved its overall record from 2013-14 season to 12-6 this season.

The team played as a No. 5 seed in the OVC tournament for the 2013-14 season and was eliminated in the first round with a 4-1 loss against No. 3 seeded Morehead State.

Blackburn said he was satisfied with how the team has played this season.

“I’m very proud of how resilient and tough our team has been this year, that’s a big part of being successful,” Blackburn said.

He also said the team has improved aspects of its game from the beginning of the season to now, and is ready for competition in the tournament.

“I think our overall consistency and physical and mental toughness has improved this season,” Blackburn said.

The Panthers will play today at 10 a.m. in the Centennial Sportsplex Center in Nashville, Tenn. against Edwardsville.

The semi-final will be played Saturday at 10 a.m. with Murray facing the winner of the Panthers and Edwardsville match.

Blackburn said for the Panthers to come out victorious this weekend, the team must be ready to play and execute.

“I think coming out strong and executing our game plan in doubles will be really important,” Blackburn said. “Also, we have played all these teams once before, so making some adjustments to improve from the last match will be important.”


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