Women’s tennis beats SIU in Danville

Parker Valentine, Women's Tennis Reporter


The Eastern women’s tennis team found success at Southern Illinois Carbondale in Danville IL, defeating the Salukis 5-2 top open its spring season.

The Panthers set the tone early, while building up points throughout the day with wins in both doubles and singles matches.

Senior Kelly Iden and Freshman Stella Cliffe started the day off on a high note notching a win against SIU Junior Xiwei Cai and Senior Ana Sofia Cordero (6-3).

Junior Grace Summers and Senior Kamile Stadalninkaite won their doubles set as well, securing the point for Eastern in a tiebreak (7-6 [4-2]).

The Panthers’ lone doubles defeat came in a close match between Sophomore Shristi Slaria & Freshman Shelby Anderson against SIU Juniors Athena Chrysanthou & Yana Golovkina.

Stella Cliffe defeated sophomore Tereza Klocova in a dominant third set, completing a sweep of her events (6-3, 2-6, 6-0).

Cliffe’s partner for the day, Iden, was also came up big for the Panthers from her #1 position. Iden defeated previous doubles opponent Ana Sofia Cordero, finishing the match off in a tight second set (6-3, 7-5).

Iden is optimistic about this year’s team

“We are a strong team with good depth and doubles talent. We have always had a passion for tennis and enjoy fighting together,” Iden said.

Senior Kamile Stadalninkaite was victorious a grueling three set match against Tereza Klocova. The match included two tiebreaks as well as the third set which ended with Stadalninkaite winning the second tie break (7-6 [4-2], 5-7, 7-6 [7-5]).

“I felt as it was a great team effort to get the win. The energy was there and we were all amped up to start the season off with a win,” Stadalninkaite said.

Stadalninkaite and Iden are in agreement on team momentum as well.

“I believe that a team should use momentum any chance it gets. It’s hard work to build up momentum, but once you have it use it to your advantage,”  Stadalninkaite said.

Sophomore Shristi Slaria is coming off a strong freshman campaign where she finished 11-6 in singles competition, with a 6-3 record in OVC play. If Sunday is any indication, she’s picking up right where she left off.

The Panthers singles losses came in Grace Summers’ match against fellow Junior Xiwei Cai (6-2, 3-6, 6-1), and Maria Moshteva against Junior Vitoria Beirao (6-2, 6-4).

Although Summers was defeated, she is looking forward to next week.

“It is always a great feeling to win the first match, and getting the wins definitely helps give us confident for the matches to come. We are going to work hard all week and show up to our match next week ready to play,” Summers said

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