Cliffe named OVC player of the week


Sean Hastings

Sophomore Stella Cliffe returns the ball on her backhand in her doubles match Friday at the Darling Courts. Cliffe was named OVC Women’s Tennis Player of the Week on Wednesday.

Dillan Schorfheide, Women's Tennis Reporter


Stella Cliffe has been working on keeping the tennis ball in play with patience, as well as playing smart throughout the spring season, and her work has been noticed by the Ohio Valley Conference.

Cliffe, a sophomore, has been named the OVC Women’s Tennis Player of the Week for the second time this season. She has been given the honor for her performances over the weekend in Eastern’s 5-2 and 7-0 wins over Belmont and Tennessee State.

Against Belmont on Friday, Cliffe defeated Maria Plaksina in straight sets, 6-0, 6-2, then on Saturday, she defeated Tennessee State’s Ani Popiashvili in straight sets again, 6-4, 6-1.

Cliffe said she did well against both teams on things that she has worked on all season.

The wins in the No. 1 singles position improved Cliffe’s overall singles record for the spring to 12-6 and her record in the No. 1 spot to 6-4.

Cliffe said she has really seen an improvement each week she has gone out and competed from the start of the season.

“I’ve really been working on good shot selection to be able to compete with the top players on each team that I come up against, as they are all very tough opponents,” she said. 

Cliffe’s high level of performance on the court this season has trickled over into doubles play as well, where she and duo partner, senior Grace Summers, have won 11 doubles matches this season, including a 5-0 start in OVC play.

The first time Cliffe earned the honor of being the OVC Women’s Tennis Player of the Week was in the week of Feb. 4. 

Over the weekend of Feb. 3 and 4, Cliffe won both of her singles matches in straight sets against Western Illinois University and Saint Louis University at the No. 2 spot in the lineup.

In that same weekend, Cliffe and Summers won both of their doubles matches and helped Eastern win the doubles point in both team matches.

“I’m really happy to have got the award again this spring because it gives me a lot of confidence going into my next matches knowing that I am capable of getting the wins and competing at a high level consistently,” Cliffe said.

Eastern is currently 10-10 this season and 4-1 in OVC play. The next action for the Panthers is this weekend, when Murray State will host the Panthers on Friday at 1 p.m., then on Saturday, Austin Peay will host Eastern at 2 p.m.

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