The Cougars played at the Edwardsville YMCA twice this past weekend, where they competed against Western Illinois University and University of Illinois-Springfield. They finished the weekend with an overall score of 13-1.
In the Cougars’ second and third match days of the season, they continued their winning streak, bringing their record to 3-0.
Redshirt freshman Jill Lambrechts and freshman Jordan Schifano won their doubles match together versus Western Illinois’ Lucky Kancherla and Maria Rybka 6-3. They continued their doubles winnings on Sunday against Illinois-Springfield’s Sina Skjelstad and Neha Mokhasi by a set score of 6-1.
“I feel like [Western Illinois] had a better team this year than last year, so we did have a lot of competition here but we didn’t really have to fight for every match,” Lambrechts said. “I feel like we did a good job at that and at the end we were really confident about it.”
Lambrechts went on to win her singles match in the number one spot against Western Illinois’ Aina Cortina-Pou 6-1, 6-0 on Saturday.
On Sunday, Schifano’s singles match was in the number one spot against Illinois-Springfield’s Carol Quevedo. She was able to pull out a win after multiple long rallies.
“Our rallies were really long,” Schifano said. “We have similar game styles, so we kind of played each other the exact same. But I just had to stay aggressive and come to the net and finish the point.”
Right before their conference play, the Cougars were forced to finish last season with an overall record of 9-2. The team is now getting back to a somewhat normal schedule with practice and matches.
Women’s Tennis Head Coach Adam Albertsen leads the team in his third year with the Cougars. He said he and his team are excited to get going again after the pandemic took away the end of their season last year.
“We’re lucky. We’re kind of back to normal so to say,” Albertsen said. “We had our season cut short last year … Just getting back out here, the excitement is so high. They’re really cherishing every moment.”
With a majority of his players being of freshman and sophomore status, Albertsen said this brings a different level of excitement to the court.
“I think a young team is always full of tons of energy. There is always room for growth,” Albertsen said. “That’s where we really cherish moments like this today where we’re able to mix up our lineup. For example, we bumped Jordan [Schifano] up to a one today. That’s a freshman playing a one single today and [she] came out with a win.”
Other wins for the Cougars against Western Illinois include freshman Fabiola Perez over Lorena Castellanos 6-2 and 6-1 and redshirt freshman Melissa Vizcardo over Agatha Carbonell 7-6 and 6-2.
Against Illinois-Springfield, wins include redshirt sophomore Nicole Gomez’s match over Franca Bucco 7-5 and 6-1 and Vizcardo's match over Neha Mokhasi 6-1 and 6-4.
Lambrechts said she believes this weekend full of wins brings a sense of confidence over everyone for the future.
“I think just overall [this] weekend we performed really well,” Lambrechts said. “Everyone got to see different players, we all played and I think that [everyone] got a little confidence for getting into the next matches.”
The Cougars are back in action Feb. 10 against Illinois State in Normal, Illinois at 11 a.m.
To follow the Cougar tennis schedule, visit their webpage.