EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – SIUE tennis has officially locked up the No. 4 seed in the 2022 Ohio Valley Conference Women’s Tennis Championship, as the Cougars turned in an impressive 7-0 victory over the Eastern Illinois Panthers on Friday afternoon.
“It was a good win for us,” said SIUE Head Coach Adam Albertsen following the win. “A week ago, we decided we were starting a new season, and this was round two. We mixed up doubles and saw our three team respond well and our ones were able to pick up the win. In singles play, with Amber and Nicole both out and not being able to go for the past few matches, it was awesome to see Maria and Melissa respond in singles. I thought we played up and down the lineup well, just focused on our own game, and really competed strong. “
The Cougars started off strong by securing the doubles point, first on the No. 3 line with Caitlyn Sporing and Fabiola Perez notching at 6-1 win. This is the duo’s first doubles win of the season in their first appearance as a pair. The point was clinched on the No. 1 court, as the team of Jill Lambrechts and Maria Thibault earned a thrilling 6-4 victory.
The Red & White saw convincing straight-set victories across the courts. Vanessa Reinicke led 5-0 on the No. 3 court before her opponent was forced to retire. Melissa Vizcardo notched a 6-0, 6-2 victory in the No. 6 position to put the Cougars within striking distance of securing the match. That came soon after, as Jordan Schifano earned a 6-0, 6-1 win from the No. 1 line to clinch the match victory. Senior Maria Thibault followed with a 6-0, 6-0 win on the No. 5 court, registering her fourth singles win of the spring and fifth of the year. Jill Lambrechts notched her 22nd win of the year and 17th of the spring with a 6-3, 6-1 win on the No. 2 court, before Fabiola Perez secured the shutout win with a thrilling 6-3, 7-6 (7-1) win on the No. 4 line.
The Cougars also celebrated three seniors on Friday – Nicole Gomez, Vanessa Reinickeand Maria Thibault.
“Nicole, Vanessa, and Maria have meant a lot to our program,” said Albertsen. “Taking our program that was in a rough spot and improving the record every year. They’re such a huge part of the results on the court, and I thank them so much for everything they’ve given to our program.”
The Cougars (16-4, 4-3 OVC) will meet either Murray State or UT Martin in next Friday’s Quarterfinal Round contest. SIUE defeated both teams in the regular season, taking down MSU by a 7-0 margin and earning a 5-2 home win over UT Martin. The Cougars’ opponent will be finalized after tomorrow’s matches have been completed.
“We’re so excited to go to postseason play,” closed Albertsen. “Every team in the OVC is a battle, you’ve seen that in some of the scores we’ve seen across the conference. It’s going to be an absolute battle, but we’re so excited to get to Evansville and start playing our very best tennis. I like where we’re going and I think we can really hit the ground running next week. “