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Hailey and Perlwitz win flight championships at Redbird Invite

Bradley enjoyed a successful Redbird Invitational. Photo courtesy Bradley Athletics and Josh Schwam.

Bradley’s tennis team completed their second tournament of individual flights at the Redbird Invitational last weekend.  Freshman Kirstin Hailey and junior Nikki Perlwitz highlighted the tournament with individual championship wins at Flights 4 and 6 singles, respectively. 

Hailey and Perlwitz both won all of their singles matches during the tournament. 

On Friday, Hailey defeated Valparaiso’s Amanda Tabanera in straight sets 6-2, 7-5. TheBradley newcomer defeated Madelyn Yergler of Drake by a score of 6-4, 6-4 during the semifinals on Sunday. On Sunday, Hailey won the individual championship at Flight 4 by defeating University of Chicago’s Shianna Guo in two sets 6-2, 6-4. 

Building off her stellar performances last week, Perlwitz defeated Elizabeth Ferdman of Marquette in the quarterfinals by a score of 6-0, 6-1. In Saturday’s semifinal match,, Perlwitz defeated DePaul’s Valentina Martin after a three set battle, 3-6, 6-4, 10-6. On Sunday, the junior added another individual championship to her record after defeating Perene Wang of Chicago in straight sets 6-4, 7-5. 

Head coach Matt Tyler was satisfied with the performances of both the freshman and the junior. 

“It was outstanding,” Tyler said.“Competition was good, so for both of them to remain undefeated was a great accomplishment.” 

Another positive aspect about last weekend was that senior Kinga Kovacs saw her first match action in nearly two years. On Friday, playing at Flight 9, she pulled out a 7-6(5), 3-6, 10-6 victory against Susana Andres of Chicago State. 

Tyler said Kovacs has been outstanding in a supportive role, saying that she brings a great attitude, works hard and supports her teammates every single day. 

“For her to get that first win on day one was outstanding,” Tyler said. “She hasn’t competed for a while, so it’s kind of tough to relearn how to be in those situations. I was super happy for her to get that win and be able to play some matches this weekend.” 

In doubles play on Friday, Hailey and senior Sandra Maletin won their match by a score of 8-3 while Andrade and Bezmenova won 8-6, advancing to the next round. Later on Saturday, both of the duos fell to Illinois State and DePaul, respectively. 

On Sunday, Maletin and Hailey placed third, winning their consolation game 8-6. Junior Bozana Lojpur and Perlwitz picked up an 8-3 win at Flight 3 doubles to cap doubles for the weekend. 

The Maletin-Hailey duo combines experience and talent. Maletin has four and a half years of experience playing doubles, while Hailey is the newcomer with high expectations for the next few years. 

Tyler’s plan is to keep the duo together. 

“Kirstin is a tremendous doubles player, and so I wanted her to be with somebody that was a veteran [and has] been doing it for four and a half years now and played at that top spot,” Tyler said. “Getting her that experience in that position, I felt like [that] was the best thing for her.” 

The freshman is thankful for the opportunity to play with an experienced player like Maletin, and she wants to take advantage of their time together as the senior will graduate in December. 

“I love playing with her; she’s definitely somebody that I look up to,” Hailey said. “It’s good to play with her because she has so much knowledge and experience on the court. I’m happy with how we played, and the last doubles match was definitely our strongest. We developed as the matches went on.” 

Hailey is satisfied with her performance during the tournament and hopes to keep the momentum going. She remains undefeated in singles play in her collegiate career. 

“Now that I see what I can do, I definitely want to continue the run and see how long it can last,” Hailey said.

The Braves will be back in action at the MVC Individual Championships in Valparaiso, Indiana starting Oct. 8.

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