Tennis dominates Cougar Invite

Lara Tupper a senior from Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia hits a forehand during Friday's match.

University of Dayton, Western Illinois University and William Woods University were all no match for the Cougars this weekend. All nine SIUE players picked up at least one victory at the Cougar Invite.

Friday’s competition opened with singles against Dayton. At the end of the weekend, the Cougars closed the tournament 14-3 in singles play.

According to Head Coach Adam Albertsen, freshman Jill Lambrechts’ comeback in her singles match against Dayton’s Paige Kompa was one of Friday’s many highlights.

“A huge highlight was Jill’s singles match against number one,” Albertsen said. “She started down 0-5 and just looked like she was in a hole, [then] came back and was able to win that set 7-5 and pulled out the whole match.”

Lambrechts went on to defeat William Woods’ Ana Zavala in spot no. 3, winning both of her singles matches this weekend. Senior Lara Tupper, sophomore Vanessa Reinicke, freshman Melissa Vizcardo and redshirt junior Callaghan Adams also achieved victories in both their singles matches. Sophomore Maria Thibault defeated Western Illinois’ Ericka Dawson in her only singles match of the tournament.

The Cougars finished the tournament 7-3 in doubles play. On Saturday, three SIUE doubles pairs went undefeated: Lambrechts and Reinicke, Tupper and Vizcardo, and Adams and Thibault.

Albertsen said seeing each of these doubles pairs succeed was particularly gratifying, as the team went into the tournament with their eyes on improving their doubles play.

“Coming into the tournament, the big thing we wanted to see was doubles improvement, and we just finished the tournament going 7-3 in doubles,” Albertsen said. “We saw a lot of good things — a lot of movement, a lot of good positioning — in our doubles teams.”

Lambrechts and Reinicke closed out the final doubles match with a 7-5 win. Lambrechts said she believes focusing heavily on her doubles play at practice contributed to the win.

“I think we just have to keep in mind that we play our game and stay focused on that and do the things we learned during practice, because we worked a lot on our doubles,” Lambrechts said. “We did a lot of doubles drills to make sure we got improvement, and I think we saw improvement already.”

Lambrechts said she saw improvement in her serves, while Reinicke said she saw overall improvement in their movement, just as Albertsen had noted.

“Our movement was much better. For example, we have to look at the right person when we play doubles, and we’re always ready,” Reinicke said.

The Cougars will play next at the  ITA Regional beginning Thursday, Oct. 17 at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, Oklahoma. According to Albertsen, the team will battle some of the best players in college tennis at the regional.

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