Women ready for two weekend match ups

Parker Valentine, Women's Tennis Reporter

The Panthers hit the road again this weekend, looking to bounce back from Sunday’s loss the University of Illinois.

Although they were defeated, coach Emily Wang is looking towards the future.

“We had three very close singles matches that could have gone either way but we fell a little short. The team gets it, they understand that if we fight and do everything in our control and lose, it is still a success and progress to the next level,” Wang said.

This weekend’s slate kicks off this Friday at noon, in Joliet. The Panthers (6-1) will seethe University of Saint Francis. USF has competed in only one match so far this season; they were defeated by Western Illinois 7-0.

Last season, the Panthers defeated USF 9-0. Senior Kelly Iden, junior Grace Summers, senior Kamile Stadalninkaite, and sophomore Abby Carpenter all notched wins in the event. Neither Summers nor Stadalninkaite dropped a single game in their respective matches.

As the season has progressed, coach Wang’s lineup has changed less and less as the athletes are getting more comfortable in their spots. Wang stressed that this can change at any time though.

“Our line-up is pretty solid at this point. Everyone has to be ready to play at any time in the unfortunate case of injury during the season,” Wang said.

The Panthers weekend continues on Sunday against Illinois State. The first match is set for 1 p.m. in Danville. The Panthers were defeated by the Redbirds last season 5-2.

The Panther victories in that meet came from Summers and the duo of Stadalninkaite and sophomore Shristi Slaria in doubles.

Unlike Saint Francis, the Redbirds are a relatively young team. They come into this meet with three first year freshmen on the roster. Only one senior remains with Illinois State: Marcia Tere-Apisah

The OVC has released their player and team predictions for the year. The Panthers were selected to finish fourth in this year’s standings.

They have completed three sweeps already on the year against WIU, IUPUI, and Bradley. The Panthers face two of the teams that are ranked ahead of them about a month from now.

The Panthers also have two athletes ranked individually. The preseason poll has Summers and Iden ranked sixth and eighth respectively, in the OVC.

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