Panthers complete Tennessee trip undefeated



Freshman Stella Cliffe backhands the ball back to her Eastern Kentucky opponent March 24 at the Darling Courts. Cliffe picked up a win this weekend.

Parker Valentine, Women's Tennis Reporter

The Panthers continued their winning ways on the road over the weekend.

They left Tennessee having notched two more wins for the season. The victories came against Belmont on Friday and Tennessee State Saturday.

The Panthers now hold a record of 9-3 on the road and are 3-2 in conference play.

They are now in the double digit win total for the season as well. They own a record of 11-6.

The Panthers clinched the doubles point early on Friday against Belmont.

The duo of senior Kelly Iden and freshman Stella Cliffe defeated seniors Laura Kent and Laura Van Eeckhoudt (6-1).   

Tennessee native junior Grace Summers was back in action this weekend, after missing last weekend’s home opener. She and doubles partner senior Kamile Stadalninkaite defeated seniors Kendall Warren and Lindsey Whithead (6-3).

Iden started singles play off from her No. 1 spot. Iden defeated senior Laura Kent in the most competitive match of the day. Iden won in three sets after dropping the first set (3-6, 7-6, 10-5).

Summers defeated senior Laura Van Eeckhoudt (6-4, 6-1) from her No. 2 spot.

Cliffe got back in the win column this weekend as well. She defeated senior Lindsey Whithead (6-3, 6-1) to snap a four match losing streak after her hot start to the season.

Slaria and senior Maria Moshteva were defeated from their 4 and 5 spots respectively. The losses came at the hands of seniors Abbie Mather and Kendall Warren.

Pugachevsky clinched the singles point for the Panthers. She defeated Sarah Beth Crow from the No. 6 spot, dropping only one game (6-0, 6-1).

Friday’s success against the Bruins was not lost the next day. The Panthers carried their momentum into Saturday’s matches against Tennessee State.

The Panthers dominated doubles play against the Tigers. Iden and Cliffe swept Phoenix Gandy and Taylor Patterson (6-0).

Summers and Stadalninkaite were not far behind either. The duo dropped only one game against sophomores Pragati Natraj and Ani Popiashvili, winning (6-1).

Pugachevsky and Slaria’s match was finished as a no contest yet again, thanks to dominate play from the No. 1 and No. 2 positions clinching the point early.

Iden started off singles play for the Panthers again Saturday. The senior defeated Popiashvili (6-3, 6-3).

Summers showed no rust this weekend after missing the Panthers’ last matches. The junior dominated her match with Patterson, earning a sweep (6-0, 6-0). Cliffe had a strong showing as well. She defeated freshman Ashia Jones (6-1, 6-2).

Moshteva bounced back from Friday. The senior defeated Natraj (7-5, 6-4) from her No. 5 spot.

Pugachevsky defeated junior Phylicia Hemphill in a marathon match, claiming eventual victory in a dominant third set (7-5, 6-7, 10-3).

The weekend’s victories snapped a two match losing streak for the Panthers.

“When players get in a slump we work on their technique and strategy that is failing them in practice and individuals. While they are playing practice sets or matches in practice, we find something positive for the players to focus on in between points,” coach Emily Wang said.

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