Women’s tennis stays undefeated after wins

Parker Valentine, Women's Tennis Reporter

The Panthers continued their hot start over the weekend in Dayton.

The Panthers started the weekend off strong on Friday and picked up a win against host team Dayton (5-2).

Senior Kelly Iden started off the match notching a win from her No. 1 spot, defeating junior Marlys Bridgham (6-3, 7-6).

Junior Grace Summers and Freshman Stella Cliffe kept the Panthers on a hot streak from their No. 2 and 3 spots, respectively. Summers defeated senior Alex Townsend (6-1, 6-2) and Cliffe defeated sophomore Mattea Kilstofte (6-2, 6-2).

Sophomore Srishti Slaria was defeated in the No. 4 spot in three sets by junior Jade Kawamoto (6-3, 4-6, 1-0). Senior Maria Moshteva secured the singles point for the Panthers from the No. 5 spot defeating junior Jackie Kawamoto (6-3, 7-5).

Kamile Stadalninkaite finished the day’s singles action against freshman Natalie Allen, where she was defeated (6-3, 6-3).

In doubles competition, Iden continued her strong start to the season alongside Cliffe as they defeated Bridgham and Kilstofte 6-4.

Summers and Stadalninkaite followed that up with another win against senior Mandy Marchant and Jade Kawamoto (6-3).

The Panther defeat in doubles came as Slaria and Freshman Shelby Anderson were defeated by Allen and Townsend, though the doubles point had already been decided for the match.

“The team has been enjoying the experience and enjoying competing which has helped us work as a team,” coach Emily Wang said.

Although the Panthers have had a successful start to the spring season, the team still is trying to find ways to get better.

“Regardless of whether we win, we talk about the good and the bad of the match and use each competition as an opportunity to learn,” Wang said.

The next day the Panthers continued their weekend of competition. They ended Saturday with a 3-0 record overall after defeating Wright State 5-2. The doubles points did not go the Panthers’ way as the Raiders swept doubles competition. What the Panthers lacked in doubles play, they more than made up for in singles. The Panthers dominated singles play on their way to Saturday’s victory.

Iden starting off the day with a win is becoming a recurring theme for the Panthers, as she remains undefeated in singles play. Iden defeated junior Karoline Haller (6-4, 6-2).

Summers then backed up that performance with a dominant win against Senior Linsey Verstrepen, losing only one game (6-0, 6-1). Cliffe won her match in three sets after falling in the first against sophomore Taylor Culbertson (3-6, 6-4, 6-4). Slaria was defeated by sophomore Haily Morgan after a two-set match with both sets going to extra games (7-5, 7-5).

Moshteva notched her win in three sets defeating senior Elaine Cloern (4-6, 6-1, 6-3). Freshman Emily Pugachevsky finished off Saturday’s singles competition. In her first match of the spring season Pugachevsky defeated senior Tori Turner (6-2, 6-0).

“We played well, fought hard, and brought a lot of energy this weekend. The team has been enjoying the experience and enjoying competing which has helped us work as a team,” Wang said.

The Panthers will be on the move next weekend as the go from facing Bradley in Peoria on Saturday, to IUPUI in Indianapolis Sunday. First match starts at 1 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. Sunday at IUPUI.

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