Tennis turns season around in Peoria


Josh Purnell/ Courier Staff

Ana Bjelica sets up to recieve a serve at a home match last season.

Bradley Piros, Assistant Sports Editor

Peoria, Ill. — The Western Illinois women’s tennis team continued their fall slate over the weekend to participate in the three-day Bradley Invitational. Competition which began Friday afternoon, and continued until Sunday morning.

The first day started off slow as Western couldn’t find a win in doubles, but they quickly turned themselves around during their singles matches.

Starting things off was freshman Anouk Maajong. After dropping her first set 6-4, she was able to rally back in the final two sets (6-4, 6-1) to pick up her first collegiate win. This win moved her into the semifinals on day two.

Sophomore Ana Bjelica followed in Maajong’s footsteps, dropping her first set as well, but coming back to win the match. This match win was her first of the season, and also moved her into the semifinals.

Her sister, Mary Bjelica, playing in the other bracket, was the first Leatherneck to win her match in only two sets (6-2, 6-1), moving her into the semifinal as well.

Freshman Megan Tagaloa lost her first match (6-2, 6-1) but won her second after her opponent withdrew from the match. Her performance scheduled her to play in the fifth-place game the very next day.

Freshman Natalie Malone got Western’s fifth and final win of the day, after her opponent withdrew as well.

The day ended, however, with two Leatherneck loses, as both freshman Mia Melnizki and sophomore Laura Ballesteros fell in two sets.

Day two saw the Leathernecks ride their momentum from the previous day and pick up some wins in both doubles and singles.

Starting things off was the pairing of Ballesteros and Tagaloa. They managed to bounce back and won two of their matches, securing them fifth place. In the same bracket were the Bjelica sisters, who won their match 8-2.

Transitioning back into singles competition, Mary Bjelica won her semifinal match in the red bracket. She won in two sets (7-5, 6-4) to move her into the championship on Sunday.

Ana Bjelica and Maajong both fell in two sets in their semifinal matches, scheduling them for third place games the next day.

Western ended day two with two victories to continue their momentum. Ballesteros won her match 6-1, 6-3 and Malone won 6-1, 6-0.

After a successful weekend in Peoria, the Leathernecks will continue their season next week when they take part in the Olivet Nazarene University Invitational. It is a two-day invite that will begin this Friday.

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