NORMAL, Ill. — The Western Illinois University women’s tennis team continued their season with matches on Friday and Saturday, going 1-1 over the weekend. Things started off with a 6-1 win against the Quincy University Hawks, but the Leathernecks couldn’t manage to come out victorious the following day as they were swept 4-0 by the Illinois State University Redbirds. Western managed both of these results with only five of their six starters ,as freshman Anouk Maajong didn’t play in either of the matches.
Things started off well for Western against Quincy. Junior Laura Ballesteros teamed up with freshman Megan Tagaloa in the No. 1 doubles spot, winning 6-2. Sophomore sisters Ana and Mary Bjelica teamed up as usual, this time in the No. 2 spot, winning by the same margin. The Hawks won the third doubles match by default as Western didn’t have enough players for a third duo. The match was tied 1-1 after doubles play.
Western didn’t let a default loss slow them down at all, though, as they won the next five straight singles matchups. Ana, Mary and Ballesteros were in the No. 1, 2, and 3 spots respectively, all winning in two sets each (6-2, 6-2). Tagaloa won in two sets (6-0, 6-0) and freshman Camryn Rossa won 6-1 and 6-0. The match did end on a bad note with another default loss handed to Western for not enough players. It still ended Western 6, Quincy 1.
Head coach Mirko Bjelica was impressed with his team after the first match. “A couple of our girls are injured this weekend, so we competed with only five players, but all of them played well against a young Quincy team,” Bjelica said in an interview with WIU Athletic Communications.
The Leathernecks took on the Redbirds the next day, but couldn’t get the job done going back-to-back. Ballesteros and Tagaloa teamed up again in the No. 1 spot but didn’t finish the match after going down 4-2 in the first set. The Bjelica sisters fell 6-1 and then Western lost by forfeit in the No. 3 doubles pot.
It would be the same order in singles rotation, however, none of the same outcomes as the day before. Ana went first and lost in an unfinished match after losing the first set 6-4 and going down 3-0 in the second. Mary lost in two sets 6-2 and 6-0. Ballesteros also didn’t finish her match, losing the first set 6-4 and then going down 1-0 in the second.
That just left the freshmen to play. Tagaloa also didn’t finish her match after losing set one 6-3 then going down 4-1 in the second. Rossa ended the day losing in two sets 6-0 and 6-1. The match concluded with another forfeit loss for Western who were still a player short. This match brings the Leathernecks down to 3-5 on the season.
The Leathernecks will begin their Summit League slate next in two weeks (March 15) with another weekend double-header. They’ll take on the Oral Roberts University Golden Eagles that Friday then travel up to North Dakota University that Sunday.
Western’s first of three home matches is March 20, the Wednesday after spring break, when they take on the University of Missouri-St. Louis Tritons.