Summers sets Eastern record, celebrates Senior Day

Dillan Schorfheide, Women's Tennis Reporter

Grace Summers walked away from the weekend as the sole leader for singles victories in Eastern’s history and with the memories of a great Senior Day.

Eastern defeated Southeast Missouri 6-1 on Friday, which was Summers’ Senior Day, and the Panthers defeated Tennessee-Martin Saturday 5-2 to finish the regular season 6-3 in OVC play and get their overall record back to .500 (12-12).

Summers is the only senior on the team, and she was able to make the most of her Senior Day Friday with a three-set (6-1, 3-6, 6-4) singles victory, which made her tied for the Eastern career record for singles wins at 55 wins.

“I was really excited for Senior Day,” Summers said. “My sister surprise visited me for the match and then my ma and dog, Rosie, came up for the weekend too. Winning on Senior Day made the day that much more special.”

Summers also won in her doubles match with her usual doubles partner, sophomore Stella Cliffe, 6-3, to help Eastern get the doubles point.

Cliffe won her singles match in straight sets, 6-1, 6-3. Junior Srishti Slaria and freshman Claire Martin added singles victories in straight sets for two more points for Eastern. Freshman Rachel Papavasilopoulos competed in her first match since getting injured on Feb. 4 and won her singles match in three sets, (6-7, 7-5, 6-1).

On Saturday, Eastern played Tennessee-Martin in Danville instead of at the Darling Tennis Courts, and Eastern lost the doubles point. Sophomore Emily Pugachevsky and freshman Karla Contreras won their doubles match 6-3.

Then Summers came out and won her singles match in straight sets, 6-2, 6-1, and made history.

“It feels awesome that I have the all time singles wins at EIU,” she said. “I definitely didn’t expect to do that until Coach Sam (Kercheval) said that I was tied for most singles wins on my Senior Day.”

The other four points for Eastern came in straight-set singles victories.

Cliffe secured her second singles victory over the weekend, again in straight sets, (6-4, 6-2). Pugachevsky won her singles match by nearly the same scores, (6-4, 6-1).

Slaria and Martin rounded out the day with 6-0, 6-1 and 6-4, 6-1 victories, respectively.

The home wins over the weekend helped the Panthers finish the season undefeated as the home team (9-0).

In the first round of the conference tournament, which starts Friday, Eastern will play No. 4 Jacksonville State, at approximately 5 p.m. Eastern defeated Jacksonville State 4-3 in the Panthers’ conference opener on March 16.

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