April 17, 2014

SIUE Edged by UT Martin

PADUCAH, Ky. – SIUE women's tennis split the singles matches Thursday in the quarterfinals of the Ohio Valley Conference Championships but were defeated by UT Martin 4-3. 

The Cougars completed the season with a 12-9 record, the first winning season since the 2007-08 season. It also was SIUE's first-ever appearance at the OVC Championships.

"This team took a big step forward – not even picked to make the postseason – and continues to show signs of growth," said SIUE Head Coach Jason Coomer.

SIUE had to battle from behind in the match after dropping two of three doubles matches. Mia Frogner and Kali Donner did pick up victories at No. 2 doubles with an 8-4 win over Burcu Tari and OVC Freshman of the Year Hitomi Naito.

Lexi Aranda, fresh off of being named second team All-Ohio Valley Conference, earned a victory at No. 1 singles with a 6-4, 6-3 triumph over Ivon Simic.

Frogner earned her second win of the day with a 6-4, 6-4 win at No. 3 singles over Sarah Candeloro.

Haley Ilcewicz also shined at No. 5 singles with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Jessica Silva.

"We put ourselves in a position to pull this match out in the end," Coomer said. "Give UT Martin credit, they stay composed and found a way to win the big points."

UT Martin, which won three of six singles matches, improved to 9-10 and will move on to play top-seeded Eastern Kentucky in Friday's semifinals.

Coomer said SIUE women's tennis figures to have a bright future considering the team returns every player on the roster next season.

"We have to challenge every player to improve," said Coomer. "This offseason will be critical to our future success."