Tennis continues to take on the Summit



Mary Bjelica swings her racket in a singles match at home.

Bradley Piros, Courier Staff

MACOMB, Ill. — The Western Illinois women’s tennis team heads back to the courts tomorrow afternoon as they take on the South Dakota State Jackrabbits in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Western isn’t in the best condition right now. They have had a two-game losing streak, which started on St. Patrick’s Day weekend against Omaha and South Dakota. They are going to try and bounce back and get their first Summit League win.

The Jackrabbits are also on a losing streak. Sitting at 0-13 on the season, they are hungry for their first win. Western will seize the opportunity and hopefully get the win to jump start a dramatic ending to the season.

Last time out for the Leathernecks was against the University of South Dakota Coyotes, when they were defeated 5-2. This loss dropped Western down to an even 7-7 on the season and moved USD up to an even 8-8.

The Coyotes came right out of the gate and took the doubles point and then defeated sophomore Laura Ballesteros in the No. 3 singles spot to take an early 2-0 lead. Freshman Ana Bjelica won in two sets (6-2, 6-4) in the No. 5 spot to get her side on the board and cut that lead in half.

USD won the next three consecutive singles matches to take the lead to 5-1. Freshman Mary Bjelica was able to finish out her singles match in the No. 6 spot and won in all three sets (4-6, 7-6, 10-8).

Last time out for USD was a 7-0 loss against the University of North Dakota. Once again, that was their 13 th loss in a row and their fourth loss being shut out completely.

Western is more than confident that they can bounce back and get this win.

“We fought again, but came up short against a very good South Dakota team,” said head coach Mirko Bjelica. “We have a week off to regroup and hopefully make a comeback in league play.”

After another week of practice for both sides, everyone is eager to take back to the courts.

After this match against USD, Western will continue on towards the Summit League Championships, as they travel to Oral Roberts University this Saturday, and then take a two-week break before heading up to Sioux Falls, South Dakota to take on the University of Denver Pioneers.

Western’s final home match will be on April 21, at 9 a.m. when they take on the visiting Quincy University Hawks.

Until then, the Leathernecks look to get back to their winning ways and hopefully get on a hot streak to finish out the season.

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