By Todd Purvis/Assistant sports editor
Eastern’s Lady Colonels bettered their record this past weekend by picking up a win over Ohio Valley Conference rival Tennessee-Martin on Saturday. This win marked the fourth consecutive win for the Colonels and improved their overall record to 11-6, and their OVC record to 4-1.The Lady Colonels started play with singles matches, where they were able to clinch the victory by winning four out of the six matches.
“This match was a total team victory,” coach Rob Oertel said. “Every single one of our players put their heart and soul into the match and contributed in their own way.”
The Lady Colonels were sparked by the victory of No. 1 seed Hannah Bartsch, who defeated Eleanor Shearman by a margin of 6-3, 6-1.
“Hannah has had a lot of tough matches as the No. 1 seed, and this was her most convincing win of the year,” Oertel said.
Eastern also led with No. 3 seed Natalie Garcia, who defeated Jeanne de Wet by a score of 6-2, 2-6, 6-3.
“In the last few weeks, Natalie has risen to another level, and this has put extra energy in our team, and has led to better results,” Oertel said.
No. 5 seed Janina Dickhardt was also victorious, defeating Olivia Shipley by a score of 6-3, 7-6. No. 6 seed Rachel Long also won by a default, which gave the Lady Colonels the edge in the match and marked their fourth straight win in as many contests.
The Lady Colonels went on to compete in the doubles matches where they lost two out of the three matches, which didn’t matter because they had already won the singles competitions.
“It is nice to be able to relax and have the match clinched going into the doubles matches because it reduces stress from our players,” Oertel said.
The win over Tennessee-Martin was a huge feat for the Lady Colonels tennis program, because it had never occurred before.
“EKU has never finished ahead of UT-Martin in women’s tennis for the 11 years that they (UT-Martin) have been in the OVC. We still haven’t finished ahead of them yet, but this is a good indicator of how the program has progressed,” Oertel said.
This past weekend, the Lady Colonels were also in action Friday, where they hosted Indiana-Purdue at Fort Wayne at Eastern, and they picked up the shutout, by a margin of 7-0. The Lady Colonels play was virtually flawless in this match because they didn’t lose a single match.
The Lady Colonels were scheduled to be in action yesterday at Morehead State for another OVC match, but it was canceled due to bad weather. Eastern will return home for the contest against OVC rival Tennessee Tech beginning at 1 p.m. on Friday at the Martin Hall Courts.
“Tennessee Tech is one of the top teams in the conference, and we look forward to the challenge of playing a top conference team,” Oertel said.
Oertel said he is pleased with where the women’s team is at this point.
“The girls are at a good competitive level right now and they’re dying to compete. It is fun to win, and we can’t wait to get out there and compete again.”