The tennis team competed in the Bradley Invitational this past weekend, which serves as the Braves final match before the Missouri Valley Conference Individual Championships, set to begin Oct. 6. If the outcomes of this weekends matches are any indication of how the team will perform at the championship, then the Braves should have a strong showing against their MVC rivals.
In her first home event, freshman Sandra Maletin won the Singles Flight A championship while the veteran duo of senior Alexa Brandt and sophomore Malini Wijesinghe claimed the Doubles Flight B crown. The winning performances highlighted a weekend head coach Matt Tyler said he was pleased with.
I thought it was a really good weekend for us, Tyler said. We had some really great performances from Sandra Maletin, Malini Wijesinghe and Alexa Brandt who all took home titles. Overall, the team played very well.
While Maletins opponent forfeited the championship match due to injury, Tyler said he was happy with the way the freshman kept her composure throughout the invitational.
It was disappointing for sure that Sandras opponent was injured, Tyler said. I was happy with the way she played though, and she should continue to produce throughout the season.
Although Maletin has made two strong showings in her young career, Tyler said the team’s order is still not determined.
Our lineup isnt set yet, and a lot of things remain to be seen. Sandra has played well but we also have a lot of other really great players on our team and Alejandra de Lasa, whos still out with an injury, is another person who plays in a top spot, Tyler said.
The Braves dominated the first day of play, finishing with a 6-2 record. Maletin, along with fellow freshman Victoria Gonzalez both delivered three-set victories in their singles matches. While Brandt and Wijesinghe chipped in with a 6-1 victory in their opening-round match.
Tyler said he attributes Wijesinghe and Brandts success to their on-court relationship.
I think it helps them for sure that theyve played together for so long. Malini and Alexa have been doubles partners for three years now, and I think theyve learned to mesh well with each other, and learned the instincts that you need to have in order to be a successful doubles pairing, Tyler said.
Brandt and Wijesinghe picked up two more wins en route to capturing the title. The victories placed the duo in Bradley’s all-time top 10, their 24 career wins as a doubles team slot the pair as eighth overall.
According to Brandt, the pair tries to enjoy every match they play together.
The experience of playing with Malini definitely helps, Brandt said. Weve learned to communicate well, but we also just go out there and try to have some fun.
Brandt was also named the Bradley scholar-athlete of the week for her 5-1 record. The senior said shes proud of the early accomplishment and expects this to be a successful season, not only for herself, but as a team.
I felt really good about my overall performance this past weekend, Brandt said. Im obviously really happy and proud to be recognized with the award, but I couldnt have done it without my teammates and coaches. I think this is just the beginning to a great year.
The Braves will return to action at the 2017 MVC Women’s Tennis Individual Championships Oct. 6 through 8 at Illinois State’s Gregory Street Tennis Courts in Bloomington, Illinois.