Women’s tennis team wins 2 weekend matches

Blake Faith, Women's Tennis Reporter

Eastern’s women’s tennis team clawed and fought hard this weekend in order to shake the losing streak. The team defeated Cardinal Stritch University and the University of Milwaukee to improve the team record to 5-4.

“I think we broke the streak by going into the match and trying to play the right way,” sophomore Rachel Papavasilopoulos said. “Instead of nerves clouding our games, we pushed everything aside and just did our jobs correctly.”

The Panthers began their weekend against Cardinal Stritch. At the No. 1 doubles slot Papavasilopoulos and senior Srishti Slaria continued to play well together, defeating Lisa Keller and Assya Trimari in an 8-4 set.

“Srishti and I have just been working hard in practice and staying positive. This weekend her attitude was great and it motivated me to keep going and win my matches,” Papavasilopoulos said. “We are going to keep working on playing aggressively since that is our new main focus during both singles and doubles.”

Papavasilopoulos and Slaria won both of their matches at the No. 1 and 2 slot in singles.

Sophomore Claire Martin scored the fourth point for the Panthers, with her win at No. 4 singles. Then, sophomore Karla Contreras defeated Ricarda Spoartmaan in order to clinch the first of two wins.

“I think we had to go in focused and believing that we could win,” Martin said. “Without a positive mindset, we wouldn’t have won. But since we trusted in ourselves and had the motivation to keep pushing forward, good things happened this weekend.”

Against Milwaukee, the Panthers found themselves down early, losing all three doubles matches and the No. 3 singles match.

Contreras sparked the rally defeating Lucy Harper in straight sets. Slaria followed with a straight set win over Mayya Perova at the No. 2 singles slot.

Papavasilopoulos gave Eastern a one-point lead with her win against Alex Belle at No. 1 singles.

Milwaukee tied the match 3-3 with a win at number five singles against junior Shelby Anderson. Martin won her second match of the weekend, while clinching the match for Eastern with her win at No. 4 singles, defeating Nicki Milner in two sets.

“I was really happy after winning,” Martin said. “Not only because it helped the team win, but also I felt like I was able to incorporate what we’ve been working on into live match play.”

The women’s tennis team will play this weekend against Millikin University and North Central College. Their first match of the weekend will start Friday at 2:30 p.m. at the Dodds Tennis Center in Champaign against Millikin.

“I think continuing to build on our wins will be important,” Martin said. “But we can’t take anything for granted. We have to keep pushing and improving if we want to beat the two teams in two weeks.”

Blake Faith can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]