Off to best start in school history, Women's Tennis team in search of MVC Championship

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    Women’s tennis takes second place in the Missouri Valley Conference

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    March 22, 2013

    By Tim McCaughan

    CARBONDALE, IL - After posting the best winning percentage in school history last year, expectations were high coming into the 2013 season for the Saluki Women's Tennis team.

    The Salukis have more than met those expectations and are off to the best start in school history at 10-1, including a school-record 10-straight wins. The team entered the ITA National rankings at No. 59 in the Feb. 26 poll, and since that time, they've won four matches by a perfect 7-0 margin.

    SIU returns its entire team from last years squad, including No. 1 singles player Melanie Delsart, who won 22 singles matches during her junior year.

    "This season is not about just one player or one doubles team -- It's about having strength at every position," said head coach Audra Nothwehr. "We reinforce this every day in practice -- We're not going to get anywhere with individual success, it's about the team doing well and making everyone better."

    2013 Saluki Women's Tennis Team

    The Salukis have depth at all positions with winning records at every spot from No. 1-6 singles. Jennifer Dien is 10-0, while Natasha Tomishima is 9-1 and Giesela Cairo Baza is 6-0.

    "Since Natasha and the twins (Giesela and Ariadna) came here, all they have known is that this program wins, and we won't settle for average," said Nothwehr.

    SIU has dominated in doubles play, combining for a 54-12 mark. At No. 1 doubles, the tandem of Delsar and Anastacia Simons has been almost unbeatable at 22-2.

    All records aside, SIU has one primary goal, and that is to bring home the Missouri Valley Conference Championship, something the program hasn't accomplished since the 1985 season.



    "We've really worked hard to end that streak," said Nothwehr, whose team opens MVC play at Evansville on April 3. "We are going to take it one match at a time and try not to get ahead of ourselves or overlook any of our opponents. The sky is the limit with this team."