Tennis to rise from ashes against Phoenix


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Courtney Lubbers returns a ball.

Bradley Piros, Courier Staff

MACOMB, Ill. – Temperatures are finally rising, and spring is right around the corner.

Women’s tennis  rounded out their regular fall season on Oct. 1 against Knox College as they routed to a 7-0 sweep against the visiting Prairie Fire. The Leathernecks won every doubles match up, as the senior out of Wichita Kansas, Courtney Lubbers, teamed up with sophomore teamate Natalia Bravo to win 6-2 in the No. 1 spot.

In the No. 2 spot was senior Cary Milanes and sophomore Laura Ballesteros, defeating the Prairie Fire 6-1. Rounding out the doubles competition was senior Maria Bessmertnaya from Russia, teaming up with sophomore Andrea Haines to sweep Knox 6-0.

Their success in those match ups quickly carried over into singles action, as five Leathernecks were able to sweep their opponents. Bravo won 6-1, and 6-0 in the No. 1 singles action and Lubbers won 6-0, and 6-0 again in the No. 2 spot. Ballesteros and Milanes both swept their opponents 6-1, and 6-0 in the No. 4 and No. 5 spots respectively.

Haines also grabbed a singles win that Sunday afternoon, as she won her matchup in three sets (6-2, 2-6, and 10-5). Head coach Mirko Bjelica was extremely pleased in the way his team performed.

“All our team members did well, but I especially want to commend Andrea Haines for walking onto the team just over two weeks ago and already contributing with a hard fought win at No. 3 doubles and No. 6 singles.” Haines said. 

After that match with Knox College, Western was off to compete at the ITA Central Regional Championships in Lawrence, Kansas. Representing the Leathernecks was Lubbers and Bravo, who were doubles partners, but also competed in singles matches as well.

The Championships were from Thursday to Saturday, and on day one of the two, the competition began in doubles against Marta Olveria and Animal Ismail, from the University of Missouri. Lubbers and Bravo would lose the match 8-5 to the fourth ranked team in the region.

On day two, Bravo opened up in consolations singles as she won her match 6-1 and 6-2, against her opponent from Creighton. She continued her good form into her next match against a Southeast Missouri player, winning 6-2, 3-6, and 10-6. Lubbers also competed in consolations singles matchups on day two, however she lost her match 3-6 and 2-6 to Nebraska.

On the final day, Bravo played in her final consolations singles match and dropped to Arkansas 4-6, 7-6 and 11-13. Lubbers did end the tournament on a high note for the Leathernecks as she won her first Regionals match against Southeast Missouri 6-2, 3-6 and 10-6.

Coach Bjelica was extremely pleased once again with his two competitors.

“Overall it was a very good tournament for us that showed us more clearly what the best competition in our region has to offer and what our performance standards need to be in in order to compete successfully.” Bjelica said.

After a relatively good fall season for the Leathernecks, they are looking to come back stronger and better against the Green Bay Phoenix as they begin their spring season on the road this Saturday at 10 a.m.

Twitter: bradjp08