Panthers split weekend matches on road

Parker Valentine, Women's Tennis Reporter

The Eastern women’s tennis team saw mixed results over the weekend. The weekend started with a dominant sweep, but it ended with a heart breaking nail biter to an in state rival.

The Panthers’ weekend of competition began on Friday at Saint Francis. The Panthers dominated the Fighting Saints, completing a sweep of all events, ending the day with a score of 9-0.

This was one of the first meets that coach Emily Wang significantly tweaked her lineup. Senior Kelly Iden held down the top spot as usual, defeating senior Gabriella Demchenko (6-3, 6-1). From there Wang’s lineup was a bit different than usual.

Freshman Stella Cliffe competed from the No. 2 spot, defeating Junior Eva Lopez in a second set sweep (6-3, 6-0). Junior Grace Summers was next, Summers defeated Junior Merle Schlaeger from the No. 3 spot (7-6, 6-1).

Senior Maria Moshteva defeated Junior Brittney Kupiec from the No. 4 spot, dropping only game (6-1, 6-0). Sophomore Abby Carpenter backed that up at No. 5, sweeping fellow sophomore Erika Edrada (6-0, 6-0).

Freshman Shelby Anderson had a successful day as well. The freshman notched her first win of the spring season, defeating senior Katie Monahan (6-1, 6-2). She also found success in doubles later in the meet.

In doubles play, the duo of Cliffe and Iden defeated their singles opponents, Demchenko and Lopez, by a score of 6-3. Anderson and Summers defeated Kupiec and Schlaeger 6-3.

Carpenter found success in a rare doubles appearance as well, she and partner Moshteva swept Edrada and Monahan 6-0 to close doubles play. The sophomore/senior duo only dropped one game collectively in the entire meet.

Sunday’s meet was a much different story. The Panthers went back and forth with rival Illinois State all day. The eventual result was only the second defeat the Panthers have faced this season losing 4-3.

The Panthers split the singles matches with the Redbirds 3-3. Iden started the action with a rare loss. She was defeated by senior Marcia Tere-Apisah in a second set tie break (6-3, 7-6 [1]).

Summers got the momentum back for the Panthers, defeating freshman Jelena Karla Vujicic in two close sets (7-5, 7-5). Cliffe kept the pace going with a win over sophomore Jana Kustkova (6-2, 6-3).

Sophomore Shristi Slaria notched the Panthers’ last singles win, in her first action of the weekend. Slaria defeated freshman Gabriela Sprague in a third set tie break (4-6, 7-5, 7-6 [4]).

The Panthers’ momentum in singles play took a turn after that. Moshteva was defeated by junior Valerija Gercar (6-3, 6-3). Fellow senior Kamile Stadalninkaite was defeated as well, falling to freshman Andrea Beneroso (7-5, 6-4).

Doubles play was not much easier for the Panthers. Cliffe and Iden started off doubles playing with a defeat to Tere-Apisah and Vujicic (6-1). Slaria and freshman Emily Pugachevsky suffered their first defeat as a duo to Kustkova and Sprague.

Stadalninkaite and Summers did hold their own. The veteran duo defeated Gercar and Beneroso (6-4), to close out doubles play.

The Panthers resume play this weekend. They will be matched up this Friday against Chicago State and will finish their weekend on Sunday against Depaul in Danville.

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