Women’s tennis sweeps Western Illinois, loses two matches

Bailey Scoggins, Women's Tennis Reporter

The Eastern women’s tennis team had a busy weekend as it started the 2019-2020 season at the SIUE Fall Invite.

The Panthers competed against Southern Illinois Edwardsville, Western Illinois and Saint Louis.

Eastern competed in singles and doubles matches over the weekend. Sept. 6, the Panthers won all four opening singles matches against Western Illinois.

At the No.1 position, freshman Esa Kavtaradez won three sets 7-5, 1-6, 10-7. 

At the No. 3 position, freshman Brittany Stevens won 6-0, 6-0.

Rounding out the wins, at the No. 2 position, freshman Elizaveta Bukraba-Ulanova won two sets 7-6 (3), 6-3, and at No. 4 singles, freshman Lauren Ellis won in straight sets 6-0, 6-0.

However, the Panthers lost all six single matches against Saint Louis.

At the No.3 position, Stevens won Eastern’s only singles victory against Southern Illinois Edwardsville with a 6-2 win. 

In the doubles matches, the Panthers won against Saint Louis. with Stevens and Karla Contreras winning 6-2 against Saint Louis and 6-4 against Southern Illinois Edwardsville.

Against Western, Steven and Contreras won their match 6-1 and Bukrababa-Ulanova and Ellis also won their match 6-1 helping the Panthers win both doubles matches against Western.

The team’s spring season ended with an overall record of 11-11, but junior Rachel Papavasilopoulos is ready for the new season. 

“I definitely learned a lot from spring, but because of the fact we had girls graduate and so many new girls come in; I feel like this year is a completely fresh start,” she said. 

Only three players are returning for Eastern this season: Shelby Anderson, Contreras and Papavasilopoulos.

Papavasilopoulos is not letting that bring down her spirits.

“We have a ton of new players this year, eight new girls actually. So far everyone seems to be adjusting and fitting right in,” she said. “I can’t wait to see how the rest of the year goes, everyone is super hardworking and enthusiastic.”

She continued: “Our role right now is just to work hard and get ready physically and mentally for the spring. All the matches we play now are in anticipation of the spring season.”

The Eastern women’s tennis team will participate in the Olivet Nazarene Invite this weekend. The Panthers’ first home match will be Friday, Sept. 20. 

Bailey Scoggins can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].