Tennis blanked in weekend double-header


Josh Purnell/ Courier Staff

Mary Bjelica waits to return the ball during practice.

Christopher Bean, Assistant Sports Editor

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Western Illinois’ tennis team got back on the court on Friday and Saturday for the first time since Jan. 27th. The Necks played the Missouri State University Bears on Friday and lost 4-0.

Missouri State got off to a hot start in the doubles matches, winning the first two matches 6-1, carrying a 1-0 lead into the single matches. Freshman Mia Melnizki started the single matches for the Necks going up against Alye Darter. Darter dominated the first set 6-1 and unfortunately, Melnizki had to retire in the second set giving MSU an early 2-0 lead. Freshman Anouk Maajong took on Phoebe Boeschen in the second match, and Boeschen picked up where Darter left off, beating Maajong 6-3 in the first set and 6-1 in the second. The Bears were up 3-0 and won the match in the sixth singles game, when Alexia Meyer also won 6-3 and 6-1, defeating freshman Megan Tagaloa. Junior Laura Ballesteros, sophomore Ana Bjelica and her twin sister Mary had their matches unfinished. Mary won the only set for the Necks, 7-6 against Fati Khamissi.

The next day Western played the Creighton University Jayhawks. Just like the day before, Western dropped both double matches 6-3 and 6-2, once again losing 1-0 entering single match play. Ana Bjelica went first this time for the Necks, going up against Ashley Ishimura. Bjelica put up a good fight in the first set but Ishimura pulled away late, winning 7-5. Ishimura was too much to handle in the second set as she won 6-1 securing the match. Maajong was in match number two against Sarah Wilcox. Wilcox dominated from the beginning, only giving up two points in both sets, winning 6-0 and 6-2. Mary Bjelica was in the third match against Michaela Henne. Bjelica put up a good fight in both matches, but Henne was proved she was too good to be defeated, winning 6-4 and 6-3.

Just like that Creighton was up 4-0. Western got their only win of the day because Gabby O’Connor had to retire in her match against Freshman Camryn Rossa. Ballesteros and Tagaloa both dropped their games, giving the Blue jays the 6-1 win over the Leathernecks. With the loss, Western drops to 1-3 on the season.

Next up for the Necks is NAIA opponent St. Ambrose this Friday in Davenport, Iowa. They will play Bradley in Peoria eight days later, closing out the month. They will look for their second win of the year so they can carry momentum into March, playing a season high of seven games in the month.