CARBONDALE, Ill.- The Wichita State women’s tennis team clinched its fifth consecutive Missouri Valley Conference regular season championship on Sunday, sweeping Southern Illinois 7-0 at University Courts.
The Shocker women won at all three doubles positions but it was not an easy task, as the Salukis would not go down easily. At No. 1 doubles, Lucia Kovalova and Veronika Blaskova were up 7-2 but Melanie Delsart and Anastacia Simons fought back to even the score. Kovalova and Blaskova were then able to pull together and capture the match 9-7.
At No. 2 doubles, Rebecca Pedrazzi and Carla Venticinque were down match point 7-5 and came back to defeat Natasha Tomishima and Jennifer Dien in a tiebreak, 8-7. Montse Blasco Fernandez and Satjaporn Mahajaroenkul completed the Wichita State doubles sweep, taking down Korey Love and Anita Lee, 8-6.
“Any time a team is trying to pull off an upset, which Southern Illinois was trying to do, the doubles point becomes magnified,” head coach Colin Foster said. “To win the doubles point in such dramatic fashion was a big boost going into singles.”
Wichita State continued their good play into the singles competition, taking all six matches in straight sets. Pedrazzi defeated Melanie Delsart at the No. 1 postion 6-2, 6-2, and Venticinque took down Anastacia Simons at the No. 6 spot, 6-0, 6-0. Junior Satjaporn Mahajaroenkul clinched the match and the MVC title for the Shockers when she defeated Jennifer Dien, 6-2, 6-2.
Freshman Julia Schiller completed her undefeated conference regular season by defeating Natasha Tomishima, 7-6 (4), 6-1 at the No. 2 position. Kovalova took down Anita Lee 6-4, 6-2, and Blasco Fernandez improved her team-leading singles record to 21-9 when she out-matched Ariadna Cairo Baza, 6-2, 7-5.
“Southern played us well at several spots but we continued to trust our games and our preparation,” said Foster. “Once we won all six first sets you could see the momentum was building, and I’m really proud of the way we finished off all matches in two sets.”
Since taking charge of the program in 2009, Foster’s teams have gone a perfect 7-0 in MVC play every season and have now won the conference championship in each of his four years at the helm. He will look to capture his fourth straight MVC Tournament title and fifth consecutive overall, April 26-28 when Wichita State hosts the tournament at Sheldon Coleman Tennis Complex.
“Winning conference regular season and postseason is our No. 1 goal every year. We played a very difficult non-conference schedule to prepare us for this. We’re excited to win the MVC regular season, but we also know the target remains on our backs next weekend for the conference tournament.”