Eastern’s women’s tennis team fought hard to the last point once again, but the Panthers could not do enough as they lost both matches this weekend and failed to qualify for the OVC tournament.
Eastern lost its first match of the weekend 6-1 against Southeast Missouri. Sophomore Rachel Papavasilopoulos won the only match for the Panthers at No.1 singles defeating Ramona Tarajova in three sets.
Against Tennessee-Martin, Papavasilopoulos and senior Srishti Slaria won at No.1 doubles against Asel Jumamukhambetova and Jemima Potter in a 6-4 set.
At the No. 3 doubles senior Abby Carpenter and sophomore Karla Contreras won their match 6-4 helping the Panthers win their first conference doubles point since Tennessee State.
The Panther added two quick points with wins at No.1 and No. 2 singles. At No.1 Papavasilopoulos defeated Jumamukhambetova in two 6-1 sets. Papavasilopoulos ended the season 19-3 at the No. 1 singles slot
At No. 2 Slaria defeated Potter in two sets 6-4, and 6-2. With that win Slaria ended her Eastern career with 47 career singles wins which ranks as the seventh best total in school history.
Tennessee-Martin won the bottom part of the lineup with straight set wins at No. 5 and No.6 singles. The Skyhawks also won the No.3 singles point.
Eastern would then come down to their last match including a senior to win their meet for the second straight weekend. At No.4 singles Carpenter lost her first set 6-4, but then won the second set 6-4. In her last set as a Panther, Carpenter battled into a first to seven point third set and would lose 7-5.
“I’ll forever be grateful to Srishti and Abby for making EIU tennis a home for me,” Papavasilopoulos said. “I plan to take the things they’ve taught me and carry it forward into the next two years.”
The Panthers failed to qualify for the OVC tournament, but the Panthers have continued to unify as a team and refused to quit until the last point all season.
Although this is the last time the 2018-2019 women’s tennis team will compete, for the ones returning next season, they know that this program will continue to have the same attitude going forward.
“I’m proud of the work we’ve put in and although the results were disappointing, I think we’ve all learned a lot this year about ourselves and each other and that makes it all worth it,” Papavasilopoulos said.“I’m feeling positive about next year and I’m going to be working hard over the summer to achieve some of the great goals we have set.”
Blake Faith can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]