Women’s tennis team sweeps weekend

Dillan Schorfheide, Women's Tennis Reporter


The Eastern women’s tennis team defeated Western Illinois and Saint Louis over the weekend to end a five-match losing streak, while also picking up its first two wins of the spring.

Both matches resulted in commanding victories for the Panthers; a 7-0 sweep over Western on Saturday and a 5-2 victory over SLU Sunday.

The big focus for the team going into the weekend was on winning the doubles point, which the team was 0-5 on so far this season, but the Panthers won the point in both matches.

Interim Director of Tennis Samuel Kercheval said his assistant, Kevin Hussey, said the doubles play from the team looked more solid and simply made more volleys.

“That was a focus last week on anticipating and targeting while we were at the net and it seems we did that during both matches,” Kercheval said.

The doubles point was a good first step Kercheval said, but he added that the team competed from start to finish in both matches to get the victories.

Against Western, Eastern won the doubles point after sweeping the three sets. The duo of senior Grace Summers and sophomore Stella Cliffe won their doubles set 6-2, freshman Claire Martin and junior Srishti Slaria won their doubles set 6-2 as well and freshmen Karla Contreras and Rachel Papavasilopoulos won 6-3 against their doubles counterparts.

“Against Western Illinois, everyone was focused and took care of business giving us a sweep of the matches,” Kercheval said.

In the singles part of the competition, all six Panthers won their matches in straight sets.

Most of the singles sets ended for the Panthers once they won their sixth points in the sets, but Contreras and Papavasilopoulos both won their second set 7-5.

With the loss, Western became 1-1 on the season while Eastern improved to 1-5.

The Panthers quickly moved to 2-5 Sunday after defeating Saint Louis, making the Billikens stay winless making their record now 0-4.

As with the Western match, Eastern won all three doubles matches with the same duos.

Saint Louis’s two points came in the singles part of the competition, after Mariluz Rojo defeated Summers in a tough three set match, 2-6, 6-2, 6-1. Contreras also fell for Eastern, losing 6-2, 6-4 to Saint Louis Alba Salinas.

Cliffe and Slaria were able to defeat their opponents in straight sets, but Papavasilopoulos and sophomore Emily Pugachevsky went to three sets to earn their wins.

Eastern now has a shorter amount of time to prepare for next weekend, as the Panthers have three matches starting Friday.

Indiana University hosts Eastern on Friday, then the Panthers travel to Peoria Saturday to face Bradley and Sunday Eastern goes back to Indiana to face Indianapolis.

Dillan Schorfheide can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]