The women’s tennis team hit the highway and headed south to Carbondale for the Saluki Invitational Saturday, Oct. 10.

The tournament pitted SIUE against intrastate rival Southern Illinois University Carbondale, along with Arkansas State University and Eastern Illinois University.  The Cougars took away four wins, two in singles and two in doubles.   

Head Coach Nick Mueller said the competition was beneficial for all players. Mueller also said some Cougar players were hurt, so the normal flight order was off, leaving their teammates to face higher ranked athletes than they would face in regular play.

“We had some girls that didn’t travel because of injury.  This meant that other girls had to play higher flights,” Mueller said.  “The girls stepped up and played some really good competition.  I was proud of the way the girls rose to the challenge.”

The one-day tournament held many wins for the Cougars in both singles and doubles action. 

Junior Mia Frogner, playing the No. 1 singles position, won two matches and secured a championship.  Freshman Madeline Hill, playing the No. 2 singles position, also won two matches and a championship at the Saluki Invite.  Both athletes played opponents from Arkansas State and SIUC. 

“Mia Frogner and Madeline Hill were focal points to the tournament,” Mueller said.

Frogner was able to retain her perfect record and now stands at an impressive 10-0 in singles play, with her most recent wins two weeks ago in her flight at the Gopher Invite. 

Hill also has a respective record at 9-0 in singles play.  Freshman Morgan Steffes and junior Lexi Aranda also took home a championship in the No. 2 doubles flight. 

“The team’s cohesiveness is very good, and I think that leads to success,” Mueller said.

Frogner and Hill teamed up and took the championship in the doubles No. 1 flight with victories in both matches. 

“We played a lot of tennis this weekend,” Mueller said.  “Each athlete participated in two singles matches as well as two doubles matches.”

Mueller said he was glad both for the competition and that the girls were able to create some momentum heading into the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Regionals starting Thursday, Oct. 15. 

“Throughout this week we are going to try and keep the girls healthy,” Mueller said.  “We hope to the keep the momentum of the team and also Mia Frogner’s momentum of her perfect fall record.”

The Cougars travel to Stillwater, Okla. on Wednesday, Oct. 14 to await the start of their ITA Regionals tournament. Mueller said the tournament will feature tough competition from a large geographical area.

“The region stretches from Minnesota through Oklahoma, so the schools in this tournament are the cream of the crop.  With such a large region, we will face tough Division I schools like Kansas and Kansas State, Iowa, Nebraska, and many other big schools.  It will be great competition for the girls,” said Mueller.

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