Women’s tennis preparing for match with SIUE

Parker Valentine, Women's Tennis Reporter


Ohio Valley Confernce play is in full swing as the Panthers head to Edwardsville. They are set to take on in-state rival Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville on Wednesday with the first matches set to begin at 1p.m.

This will be the Panthers first mid-week match up of the season, but Coach Emily Wang isn’t worried.

“Playing a mid-week match does not change our preparation much, we will practice as usual,” said Wang.

The Panthers are 1-0 in conference play, notching their first OVC win of the season on Friday. They defeated Jacksonville St. 6-1.

Three of the last four meets between these two teams have been decided by one point.

“We always have rivalry type matches against SIUE. They are our instate conference rival,” said senior Kamile Stadalninkaite.

Although the matches have been competitive, the Panthers find themselves heading into Wednesday’s meet having lost three straight spring matches against the Cougars.

In their most recent meet with the Cougars, the Panthers fought throughout the match. Sophomore Abby Carpenter was victorious in singles, as she defeated SIUE graduate McKenzie Thomas (6-3, 6-0). Junior Grace Summers found success against the Cougars as well. She defeated Madeline Hill (6-1, 6-7, 7-5). As a team, they came up just short of victory though, losing the meet 4-3.

“Although we play the same teams over the years, players and positions are constantly changing,” said senior Kelly Iden.

One thing to watch out for though, is the matchup of Iden and all-conference senior Lexi Aranda. The two No. 1 position seniors have matched up in each of the last two seasons.

“Preparation is key to success. We have worked hard in practice and performed well during our pre-season matches. With OVC matches starting, we will have the same mindset of competing and winning. However, there is a strong desire to finish as the top team in the OVC,” Iden said.

This will be only the second conference match the Panther freshmen have experienced. They are in good hands though, as the more experienced Panthers try to guide them.

“I advise my younger teammates to prepare just like any other match. Word hard, fight hard, and be positive because every point won is one point closer to our team winning,” said Iden.

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