Women’s tennis team heads to SIUC Invite

Parker Valentine, Women's Tennis Reporter

The Panthers continue their season this Sunday in Carbondale Illinois at the Saluki fall classic at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

The Eastern women’s tennis team will be going up against the Arkansas State Red Wolves, Southeast Missouri Redhawks, Western Illinois Leathernecks, and the host Salukis of Southern Illinois Carbondale.

This is the first time of the fall season that the entire roster will be active. Senior Kelly Iden and Junior Grace Summers will play this week after being sidelined with illness at the SIUE invitational last week.

Wang is looking forward to having her team at full strength.

“It was tough to have our top two players out and it caused everyone to shift up two-plus spots in the lineup, ” She said.

Wang is still trying different looks both in practice and at events, stating that she will be playing the Panthers in different combinations during the doubles events. Finding players who complement each other’s playing style the best is the motivation behind it.

This will be the third year in a row the Panthers compete in this event. They went 10-8 in singles play while going 4-4 in doubles at the Fall Classic last year.

When it comes to the other schools competing in the event the Panthers played all four of them in spring season. They dominated the majority of the competition sweeping Southeast Missouri, Arkansas State, and Western Illinois, with their only loss coming to SIUE by a score of 5-2.

Arkansas State comes into the competition with coach in Kel Lange coming off his first full season as the Red Wolves head coach. The team consists of 3 upperclassmen with two seniors and one junior, while two freshmen and two sophomores complete the rest of the roster.

Southeast Missouri is coached by Mary Beth Gunn, who came to the university with championship pedigree as an assistant of the Tennessee-Martin staff that won the OVC tournament in the 2011 season.

The Redhawks come into the classic with a bit of a youth movement on the roster with three freshmen and three sophomores, while only having two seniors on the roster.

Western Illinois coached by Mirko Bjelica is on the opposite end of that spectrum. Their roster consists of three juniors and two seniors, as well as only two freshmen.

The host team, SIUC is coached by Audra Anderson, who has the highest winning percentage in the school’s history, (140-83, .627). She runs both the men’s and women’s teams. The Saluki team boasts the deepest roster and consists of four juniors, three seniors, two sophomores, and one freshman.

The meet is scheduled to begin Sunday.

Parker Valentine can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]