Tennis splits weekend against Western Illinois and Iowa

With another series in the books, the women’s tennis team reached the halfway mark of their season. A weekend split between Western Illinois and Iowa served as an example of the Braves’ entire season thus far.

The Braves’ weekend consisted of a 7-0 victory against Western Illinois (WIU) and a 7-0 defeat against the Iowa Hawkeyes. Against WIU, Bradley’s team relied on sophomore Alejandra de Lasa and junior Ariel Dechter to cement the afternoon sweep.

“We felt great about the win Friday,” head coach Matt Tyler said. “Western fought hard, but we were able to come out on top.”

The Braves could not afford to rest, however, as they quickly packed their team bus and headed toward Iowa City. Bradley was in for a tough test, as Iowa boasted a perfect 7-0 home record heading into Saturday.

Bradley did not fare very well against Iowa. The Braves surrendered a couple of early doubles points and were never able to recover. Iowa held the Braves scoreless, recording the victory 7-0.

Tyler said he remained optimistic about the defeat.

“The team score is a bit misleading because we had some really close matches,” Tyler said. “If we capitalize on a few opportunities, I think things could have changed very quickly in our favor.”

Playing away from home has been a consistent problem for the Braves this year. With a 2-5 road record, the Braves must improve on that mark if they are to have success when conference play rolls around.

Another factor working against the team is Bradley’s schedule.

The Braves will play seven straight road matches. With a poor track record on the road, Bradley will look to reverse this trend and gain some consistency.

Tyler attributed the lack of consistency to the injuries his team has dealt with.

“Our biggest problem with consistency is getting and staying healthy,” Tyler said. “Almost every weekend, we have had someone out with an injury which puts pressure on people to step up and perform. I have to give all of our ladies a lot of credit for doing exactly that.”

After winning six straight games, the Braves have dropped three of their last four. With 12 matches remaining in the schedule before the Valley Championship, the Braves need to show their fans they’ve got something left to prove.

This weekend, Bradley will face Dayton and Wright State Friday and Saturday, respectively.