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Tennis drops another road bout

Bradley tennis head coach Matt Tyler talks with his team prior to a match in 2023.

After a tough three matches the weekend prior, Bradley tennis (1-5) hoped to bounce back against SIU Edwardsville last Saturday. 

This was no easy task for Bradley, especially since junior Kirstin Hailey was pulled out of her singles match due to an injury. Last season, SIUE went 17-5, including a 4-1 win against the Braves. The Cougars went in with a record of 2-0 after wins against Illinois-Springfield and Valparaiso earlier this season.  

The final score was 6-1 in favor of the Cougars, with the Braves’ lone win coming from freshman Andra Sirbu’s victory in her singles match 7-6, 2-6, 10-8. Bradley lost all three of their doubles matches for the first time this season, but they were still close, with scores of 7-5, 6-4, and an unfinished 5-4 set.

“They’re always a good team. They always compete really hard,” head coach Matt Tyler said. “They’ve got a ton of experience. They’ve been playing together for a long time and that confidence from an opponent is tough sometimes.” 

Tyler also mentioned how Sirbu’s win could help push the team to improve. 

“She’s a kid that’s only going to get better and better,” Tyler said. “It does, I think, give the rest of the team a lot of motivation and confidence when you know that one of your younger players on the team is winning.” 

Even after a rough start to the season, Tyler still believes that the Braves can turn it around. 

“I think we’re on the verge of winning a lot of matches,” Tyler said. “If you look at the actual scores of our last several matches, it’s literally been two or three points for the entire match that has been the difference.” 

The Braves head back home to Pekin for two matches this weekend against Northern Illinois and Western Illinois. For Tyler, the main focus will be winning back that doubles point, which will assure the team that they can win.

“Doubles is always a focal point for us and something that we’re always spending time on,” Tyler said. “And then, this is not an easy thing to work on, necessarily, but confidence. Making sure that we’re getting really high-quality reps in practice and not letting some of those losses affect how we enter these matches.”

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