The Bradley tennis team competed in the Missouri Valley Conference Individual Championships last weekend in Normal, Illinois. The Braves left Normal without any titles but still had some strong showings.
Bradley received a second-place finish from the duo of sophomore Natalia Barbery and freshman Sandra Maletin in Flight 1 Doubles.
The pairing outlasted Stony Brook Universitys top doubles team in a tiebreaker set and won 8-7 on the first day of the tournament. Barbery and Maletin then beat the pair from Evansville, 8-5. Finally, the duo fell to the tournament host Illinois State 8-5 in the championship match.
Sandra and Natalia played [outstandingly], head coach Matt Tyler said. I think they certainly had a chance to win that match, but I got to give a lot of credit to ISU.
Additionally, freshman Victoria Gonzalez turned in a third-place finish in Flight 5 Singles.
Gonzalez started out the tournament with a three-set victory over Stony Brooks Ana Carrion but then lost in straight sets to Evansvilles Nicoli Pereira. Gonzalez was able to capture third place after her opponent from Missouri State retired before the match began due to injury.
Beating the athlete from Stony Brook was definitely an accomplishment for her, Tyler said. I am really proud of what she was able to do.
Gonzalez, a native of Bolivia, stepped up to the challenge of playing a more experienced player.
It was a bit daunting because I am a freshman and she is the team captain for Stony Brook, Gonzalez said. To have come in third in the MVC against such excellent competition is very motivating for me.
The Braves duo of senior Alexa Brandt and junior Malini Wijesinghe lost in the third place match of Flight 2 Doubles.
The pairing kicked off the tournament with an 8-6 win over Illinois State. In the semifinals, Brandt and Wijesinghe fell to Drakes pairing to set up a third-place match with Stony Brook.
The Bradley duo could not muster a comeback win in the third-place match to Stony Brook 8-4.
The Braves have just one tournament left in their fall season before their break from competing until their competition resumes in January. The Braves lost many players from last season and have used the spring season to grow both as a team and as individuals.
It is always a tough adjustment in the fall season especially for our international players, Tyler said. It is an exciting time for our program and we will be ready come January.
The Braves will close out their fall season Oct. 19 to Oct. 22 in Lawrence, Kansas at the ITA Central Region Championships.