Women’s tennis hosts University of Missouri-St. Louis in home opener

Bradley Piros , Sports Editor

TULSA, Okla.—The Western Illinois University women’s tennis team hasn’t had the best stretch recently, currently sitting on a three-game losing streak and a 3-7 season record. The Leathernecks opened their Summit League slate last weekend against Oral Roberts University Friday afternoon and North Dakota University St. Patrick’s Day morning. They lost both matches 5-2 and 7-0, respectively.

The two points scored against ORU were both in singles play. One half of the sophomore sisters Mary Bjelica won in two sets 6-3 and 7-5 in the No. 3 spot. Junior Laura Ballesteros also won in two sets 6-3 and 6-0 in the No. 5 spot.

Ballesteros teamed up with freshman Megan Tagaloa in the No. 1 doubles spot but lost 6-1. The freshman duo of Anouk Maajong and Mia Melnizki was in the No. 2 spot, but they were shutout 6-0. Rounding out the match were the Bjelica sisters who lost in an unfinished match 4-3.

Luckily, the Leathernecks had an opportunity to bounce back against the newest member of The Summit League, NDU, but were shutout on the match 7-0. The highlight of singles action was Maajong taking her match to three sets but losing 11-9 in the tiebreaker. Singles play was rounded out by freshman Camryn Rossa when she was forced to retire after going down 1-0 in the first set. Western lost by default in the No. 6 spot as Ballesteros was out sick.

“It was bad timing for us for two of our girls to come down with the flu. Therefore we had to default two singles and a doubles match,” head coach Mirko Bjelica said in an interview with WIU Athletic Communications. “Nevertheless, Anouk (Maajong) and Megan (Tagaloa) were just a few points away from winning their singles matches, and Megan (Tagaloa) and Mary (Bjelica) were up 5-0 when the doubles were called off. It was a tough trip, but we will regroup and press on.”

Western will be trying to bounce back in their home opener against the University of Missouri-St. Louis Tritons. UMSL are currently 5-2 on the season and 4-2 on the road. They also come into this match on a three-game win streak.

It won’t be easy for the Leathernecks to turn themselves around, but it’s back to Summit League teams after this match and a very talented University of Missouri team. It only gets harder from here on out. The match against UMSL will be at 2 p.m. this afternoon.