Weekend brings tennis tough competition

Senior Ann-Christine Link attempts to block a shot from Austin Peay State University during her Senior Day home match on Saturday, April 13. Link lost the split match 4-6, 7-6, 5-10. 

Tennis closed out two regular-season matches with a 5-2 loss against Murray State University and a 7-0 loss against Austin Peay State University. 

However, Head Coach Adam Albertsen said the team did not go down without a fight.

Both of the team’s seniors, Alina Munteanu and Ann-Christine Link, won their singles matches against Murray State Friday. After two sets, Munteanu bested her opponent at No. 1 singles 6-3, 6-4.

Link, at No. 5 singles, won her first set 6-3, lost her second 2-6 and went on to win the third set 6-3. According to Link, the wind presented some unforseen challenges, making this win even more special.

“That was a big fight because it was super windy,” Link said. “It was crazy — people were missing shots because the wind was so strong, so it was a big battle, and I’m happy that I stayed calm and never gave up because sometimes you miss a shot because the wind is crazy, so there’s no point in getting mad.”

While the team was not able to secure a win Friday, Albertsen said he is still proud of the players’ performances.

“We knew this weekend we were playing two of the top teams in the conference,” Albertsen said. “[Friday] we played at a high level. We won at one and five singles, we split sets at two, so I was really proud of how we played [Friday]. We gave Murray State everything they could handle, so we played well there.”

The Cougars continued the weekend’s theme of tough competition when they faced Austin Peay Saturday, on Senior Day. Austin Peay holds a perfect record in the Ohio Valley Conference.

Albertsen said this did not change how the team prepared and that he continued to stress the importance of being aggressive going into the match.

“We wanted to come out and be aggressive, especially in doubles,” Albertsen said. “We wanted to take over the net and try and keep closeness. That’s something we’ve been trying to focus on the past couple of weeks.

No. 2 doubles partners redshirt sophomore Callaghan Adams and freshman Maria Thibault were up against Claudia and Lidia Yanes Garcia, twins who have been playing the sport since they were young.

Adams said she is proud of their performances, especially considering the skill of their opponents.

“We played a doubles team that’s grown up playing together,” Adams said. “They’re twins and they’re very good singles players, and so I think we did really well playing as a doubles team.”

According to Thibault, she and Adams started strong with a 2-0 lead, but the twins settled into the match and defeated them 6-4.

Link split her singles sets, winning the second set 7-6. She and her opponent Helena Kuppig were the only two left battling, ending with Kuppig winning the third set 10-5.

According to Albertsen, Link’s singles performance is a testament to her determination and leadership.

“It was special on Senior Day, where it would have been cool to get a win, but she’s kind of been that leader by example all year, so it shows again today the type of player she is [and] the type of fight she has,” Albertsen said. “It’s tough it didn’t go her way, but we’re really proud of her effort.”

This weekend’s matches brought the Cougars to 6-12 overall and 1-5 in Ohio Valley Conference play.

The Cougars will have their final two regular-season matches at 2 p.m. Friday, April 19, at Southeast Missouri State University and 2 p.m. Saturday, April 20, at UT Martin.

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