Women’s tennis continues winning ways

Parker Valentine, Women's Tennis Reporter

The Panthers did not have a single blemish in their singles matches for the entire weekend. They finished with consecutive sweeps of Bradley on Saturday, then IUPUI on Sunday.

These victories have the Panthers at 5-0; their best start to a spring season since 2014 when they started the season 6-0.

In recent matchups against Bradley, the Panthers have had the Braves’ number. The matchup on Saturday was no different. The Panthers earned a 7-0 sweep, going undefeated in both doubles and singles competition.

Coach Emily Wang’s rotation in singles stayed very similar to what it has been the last few matches. Senior Kelly Iden started the day from her No. 1 spot and notched an early win against junior Alejandra de Lasa (6-3, 6-0).

In the No. 2 spot junior Grace Summers defeated freshman Natalia Barbery in straight sets earning the victory (6-0, 6-0). Freshman Stella Cliffe earned the next Panther win at the No. 3 spot as she defeated junior Alexa Brandt (6-2, 6-4).

Sophomore Srishti Slaria earned the Panthers’ second sweep of the day as she defeated junior Aimee Manfredo in straight sets, winning (6-0, 6-0).

“I had a few tough losses in the last few matches, which makes me want to win even more and so I put in more effort on court and also while conditioning off court,” Slaria. “This self-reflection paid off, as she earned the sweep at Bradley, as well as notching a win at IUPUI the next day.

Senior Maria Moshteva had a much more competitive match from the No. 5 spot as she rallied to defeat Malini Wijesinghe in a tough third set (5-7, 6-3, 10-7). Freshman Emily Pugachevsky had to mount a rally as well as she defeated Julie Martin after dropping the first set (3-6, 6-0, 6-2).

Doubles success was found just as easily for the Panthers against the Braves. The team of Iden and Cliffe defeated de Lasa and Barbery (6-2). Pugachevsky and Slaria defeated Brandt and Wijesinghe (6-3). Summers and Stadalninkaite finished the doubles point defeating Manfredo and Martin (6-1).

The next day in Indianapolis the Panthers repeated the same success against IUPUI.

Iden (in her hometown of Indy) started the match of, as usual, with a win. She defeated Sara Sherif in the closest contest that she or any Panther has been a part of this season, winning (2-6, 7-6 [7-3], 1-0 [11-9}.

Summers kept up the same dominant play that she achieved at Bradley. Summers defeated Junior Valeriia Lavrenchuk (6-0, 6-3). Cliffe followed that up defeating junior Mariella Pessina in a second set tiebreak (6-2, 7-6 [7-3]).

Slaria defeated junior Samantha Mayer in three sets (6-1, 3-6, 6-2). Pugachevsky followed that up with a win against junior Marina Schneiger (6-2, 6-1).

Sophomore Abby Carpenter saw her first action of the spring season, notching a win from the No. 6 spot on Sunday. Carpenter defeated freshman Molly Nguyen (6-2, 6-3) to give the Panthers an undefeated finish on the day.

Cliffe and Iden had an off day to start off doubles. The duo was defeated by Mayer and Sherif (6-1). Pugachesky and Slaria had their backs though, defeating Lavrenchuk and Schneiger (6-2).

Summers and Stadalninkaite finished the doubles set the same way they did Saturday, earning a win for the Panthers. The duo defeated Pessina and Nguyen (6-1).

“It’s not easy to win at every singles spot as well as the doubles point to end up at 7-0. We did that twice over the weekend and that is pretty exciting for us,” Wang said.

The Panthers are on the road again next week. They travel to Western Illinois, then head to Champaign-Urbana to take on the Illini.

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