MARTIN, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee at Martin tennis team will open Ohio Valley Conference play this weekend when it hosts SIU Edwardsville on Saturday, March 16 and Eastern Illinois on Sunday, March 17 at the Union City Middle School courts. Both matches are scheduled to begin at 2 p.m.
Because of ongoing construction on the Skyhawk Varsity Courts on campus, the matches were moved to nearby Union City.
“This is a good opportunity to play in front of the many tennis fans that live in the Union City area,” UT Martin head coach Dennis Taylor said. “There are many knowledgeable tennis groups in Union City and we need all the support we can get.”
Ranked second in the OVC preseason polls, UT Martin has been hampered with injuries all spring and enters the weekend with a 1-8 overall record. The Skyhawks hope that the beginning of league play will kick-start a winning streak, as UT Martin has generated an impressive 15-2 mark (.882 winning percentage ) against OVC competition in the last two seasons. UT Martin has also boasted a solid track record against both teams it will face this weekend, winning two in a row over SIU Edwardsville since it joined the conference in 2010 and five in a row over Eastern Illinois (having not lost since 2007).
One bright spot has been the play of junior Ivon Simic, who has picked up four victories at No. 1 singles after being named the league’s No. 2 returning player in the preseason. The duo of Jessica Silva and Anna Winkelmann has also been on a tear in doubles action, winning three straight matches at the No. 3 slot.
SIU Edwardsville was selected 10th in the OVC preseason polls and carries a 4-7 overall record into the weekend. Monique Krutak has been the Cougars’ top player in 2013 – posting a 9-1 singles record (5-1 at No. 1, 4-0 at No. 2). Krutak has also teamed with Haley Ilcewicz to post a five-match winning streak in doubles play.
Eastern Illinois is currently 5-2 and was chosen fifth in the OVC preseason polls. The Panthers are led by OVC preseason No. 8 player Janelle Prisner (4-2 mark at No. 1 singles) and Ali Foster, who has gone 5-1 in singles play so far. The doubles team of Foster and Kristen Laird has tallied a team-best 5-1 record for Eastern Illinois.