By Jonathan Stark
The women’s tennis team’s dominance of the OVC continued this weekend as the lady Colonels trounced Austin Peay and UT Martin to improve to 17-5 overall and 8-0 in the OVC.”This is the best EKU women’s team I’ve had by far. Possibly the best in the history of EKU.the talent level I can assure you is the best in EKU women’s tennis history, for sure,” Head Coach Rob Oertel said.
On Saturday, the Colonels stumbled out of the gate against UT Martin (7-0, 4-3 OVC) as they lost the doubles point. Jemma Euers and Meredith Giles were the only pair to win their doubles match, 8-3.
Svetlana Pimenova and Alexandra Sitnikova lost their doubles match, 9-7. The pair had won five straight prior to the loss.
Singles proved Eastern’s strong suit against the Skyhawks as the Colonels took five of the six matches; the only loss coming in Pimenova’s No. 1 singles match against Elizma Schoonees Pimenova fell 6-3, 6-1.
“There are a lot of good players at No. 1 no matter who you’re playing.their No. 1s are good. It’s a tough spot to do well at and maintain and she’s overall had a pretty good spring for us,” Oertel said. “You’re gonna have your ups and downs at No. 1 even when you’re playing weaker teams.”
One hotly contested battle was the No. 4 singles match between Anouk Faure and Belisa De Brito. Faure dropped the first set, 5-7, but rallied back winning the final two 6-3 and 6-2.
“They (Eastern) have risen to every challenge this season. Their talent level and their confidence has gotten them through some pressure situations as it did this past weekend against UT Martin,” Oertel said.
The Lady Governors of Austin Peay entered play on Friday with a record of 1-14 overall and 1-4 in OVC competition. Their luck didn’t change in the nine matches against Eastern as Peay was blanked 7-0.
The Colonels swept doubles play, the closest match being an 8-5 victory for Jemma Euers and Meredith Giles over Laura Gonzalez and Morgan Klieber.
Anouk Faure and Vera Heimeroth won their doubles match, 8-0.
“We stayed focused and just took care of business.” Oertel said.
The Colonels swept the singles competition as Eastern won five of the six matches in straight sets. Pimenova got in a little trouble during her match. After taking the first set, 6-4, Pimenova dropped the second, 4-6, forcing a third set. In the deciding set, Pimenova was able to battle back and win 10-6.
Myriem Mhirit and Heimeroth both won their singles matches in impressive style 6-0, 6-0.
Austin Peay is now 1-15 overall and 1-5 in conference play.
The Colonels wrap up the season in Alabama this weekend as they go up against Samford (12-5, 6-0) and Jacksonville State (10-9, 9-1). This weekend will likely decide who takes first in the OVC regular season.
“This is what we practice and train for all school year, for this weekend and next weekend, and that’s the way it should be,” Oertel said. “These three women’s teams will be the top three seeds at the conference tournament and it’s exciting, it’s fun. We can’t wait to get on the court.”
Eastern’s 17-5 overall and 8-0 in the OVC is the Colonels’ best season in Oertel’s tenure as coach.