Feb. 23, 2012
By Tim McCaughan
CARBONDALE, Ill. -The Southern Illinois women's tennis team is set to host Arkansas State on Friday at 4 p.m., at Sportsblast.
The Southern Illinois women’s tennis team and Arkansas State have met three times in the past, all within the last 6 years. ASU took the first match in 2008 in Jonesboro, Ark. 5-2. The next year the Red Wolves made the trip to Carbondale and beat the Salukis 5-2. The latest meeting between the two teams was in 2011 season when the Salukis fell once again 6-1.
The Salukis open the 2012 season red hot in doubles play, with a combined 9-0 overall record. Southern is led by junior Anastacia Simons and sophomore Anita Lee who make up a third of the Salukis’ wins in doubles play. Jennifer Dien, Natasha Tomishima, Siera Hasler, Korey Love, and Melanie Delsart have all been a part of the Southern’s success in doubles competition.
DELSART'S ITA RANKING
The Intercollegiate Tennis Association has ranked Southern Illinois junior Melanie Delsart at No. 10 in the central region. Delsart joins players from Kansas State, Nebraska, Tulsa, Iowa and Missouri among the top 10 singles players in the region, and was the only Missouri Valley Conference player to rank in the top 10 regionally. “I am very pleased and surprised,” Delsart said. “I can only say that we have been working very hard as a team, and being ranked is a result of that.”
QUEST FOR 200
Saluki head coach Audra Nothwehr enters her fifth season at Southern Illinois with an overall record of 58-42, and 18-14 in Missouri Valley Conference play. Nothwehr enters today’s match with a .580 winning percentage while at Southern Illinois, She also comes into today’s match with 199 career wins, and currently ranks second in school history, behind only Judy Auld who leads SIU with 405 career wins.
STATE OF MIND
While Southern has come out in the 2012 season on fire in doubles play, they still have room to improve in singles play. The Salukis come into Friday’s match with a .667 winning percentage in singles competition. “We need to work on our returns and our transition ball,” said head coach Audra Nothwehr. “I can see the nerves in some of our freshmen slowly going away after each match. The more confidence we can gain before we go into conference, the better, and it will play a big difference.”