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Tennis misses victories at MVC Individual Championships

Freshman Nikki Perlwitz advanced to the Flight 5 Singles Championship in Springfield, MO. Photo by Kayla Johnson.

The Bradley tennis team competed in the MVC Individual Championship from Oct. 5 – 8 in Springfield, Missouri and finished with two players in championship matches.

Sophomore Sandra Maletin advanced to the Flight 1 Singles Championship on Sunday, falling 6-1, 6-2 against Valparaiso’s Jelena Vujanic, a 2018 MVC All-Select Team honoree. Freshman Nikki Perlwitz moved on to the Flight 5 Singles Championship only to be defeated 6-3, 6-1.

“Overall, I felt great about my performance throughout the tournament,” Maletin said. “Specifically, in the championship match, I learned that I need to improve on a few technical areas for an endurance race [like this match].”

Head coach Matt Tyler said having a freshman and sophomore advance to the championship round was invigorating, but that it was disappointing no one could win a title.

“If you were to ask any of our athletes, they’re not satisfied with how it turned out, which is kind of what we want,” Tyler said. “We want to go for that next level and push themselves to get better.”

Aside from perceived shortcomings, Tyler noted the successes of senior Malini Wijesinghe and freshman Bozana Lojpur’s third-place doubles win and Lojpur’s third-place singles win.

The quality of doubles play during the weekend made Tyler, who tends to emphasize the significance of doubles, optimistic for his team’s performance in the spring season.

“I think these are our best three doubles team that we’ve ever put out there,” Tyler said. “It’s a work in progress. We need to continue to push our level.”

In the upcoming offseason, Tyler said he would continue to implement the team’s new conditioning plan.

“I think this is the most fit team I have ever coached,” Tyler said. “If nothing else, every single one of our players should know that they’re capable of staying out on the tennis court and playing a three hour, three-set match if they have to.”

Tyler cited an example from this past weekend of the conditioning’s impact when Lojpur glided to her victory by physically dominating her opponent.

“Her opponent broke down physically,” Tyler said. “You could just see. She couldn’t close the door and Bojana was able to stay out there longer than her opponent and ended up beating her 6-4, 6-0 in the second and third sets. I attribute that win a lot to just her fitness level.”

The Braves will participate in the ITA Central Regional Championships today and until Monday in Iowa City.

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