Eastern handles Cougars 6-1 in tennis

Dillan Schorfheide, Women's Tennis Reporter

With a 6-1 victory over Southern Illinois Edwardsville Tuesday, Eastern’s women’s tennis team won its second straight OVC match to start conference play 2-0 this spring.

Last year, Southern Illinois Edwardsville (0-13, 0-2) defeated Eastern (8-9, 2-0) by the same 6-1 score en route to the Cougars’ conference championship. That conference championship is something junior Abby Carpenter said made Eastern excited to play the Cougars Tuesday.

“Always in past years, SIUE has been one of our biggest competitions in the conference, so it was awesome for us to be able to beat them so soundly,” she said. “Overall, knowing that we didn’t have to play our best while still getting great results is always a good feeling for the team.”

After starting the season with a 2-5 record, Tuesday’s win helped the Panthers go 4-4 in their last eight matches and get a jump start in the conference standings.

Carpenter picked up one of Eastern’s points with a singles victory over Southern Illinois Edwardsville’s Anna Talley in straight sets, 6-0, 6-1.

“I just had to play solid tennis to get the singles win,” she said. “I used it as an opportunity to work on different aspects of my game.”

Unlike Eastern’s 4-3 win over Jacksonville State Friday, Tuesday’s match did not come down to the finish of the last singles match to determine the winner.

Eastern started with a lead right away after winning the doubles point. Freshman Claire Martin and sophomore Shelby Anderson won their doubles match by default because the Cougars did not have a second player to match up against them, so Eastern needed just one other duo to win for the point.

But both pairs won their respective matches. Sophomore Stella Cliffe and senior Grace Summers won 6-3, as did Eastern’s third duo of sophomore Emily Pugachevsky and freshman Karla Contreras.

Summers lost her singles match to Raillane Kamdem in straight sets, 6-1, 7-6, giving the Cougars its only point of the match. Summers drops to 4-4 this season in the No. 2 spot for singles matches.

For the rest of Eastern’s singles players, there was not much of a worry about winning their matches. The only other singles match that was close was Pugachevsky’s singles match.

After winning her first set 6-2, Southern Illinois Edwardsville’s Ann-Christine Link came back to win the second set 7-5. Pugachevsky would finish her victory with a 1-0 (4-0) win in the third set.

Eastern now awaits its next match on Friday against Eastern Kentucky. Carpenter said the match will be important for Eastern.

“Looking forward, having that 2-0 OVC record just gives us even more confidence for us to move into our upcoming match on Friday,” she said.

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