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Tennis spring break trip and ISU match a case of highs and lows

Before heading off on its spring trip, the Bradley tennis team won a tight match at home against St. Louis, 4-3, on March 7.

On March 10, they traveled to No. 47 Tulsa and lost 7-0. In doubles play, the duo of senior Malini Wijesinghe and redshirt junior Lindsay Haight lost the No. 2 match 4-6.

In singles play, Wijesinghe and freshman Nikki Perlwitz forced a third-set super tiebreaker against their opponents. Head coach Matt Tyler was optimistic about the loss to Tulsa.

“It wasn’t the team we wanted to bring … three of our top six were injured,” Tyler said. “Despite that, a lot of positives came out, we played some great tennis.”

The Braves kicked off their spring break trip with a stop in Mississippi on March 19, but were swept by Southern Mississippi. They then won two wins, beating Nicholls State 4-3 on March 20 and New Orleans 5-2 on March 21.

Wijesinghe said the team looked forward to the spring trip in order to prepare for the conference schedule and to boost morale.

“It was a big adjustment period for all of us, we hadn’t played outside at all,” Wijesinghe said. “And that’s why we take the spring trip, to get used to that. On top of that we just have a really good time, we enjoyed being down there with each other.”

Despite posting a 2-1 record on their trip, the Braves went 0-3 in doubles play. Tyler said this will be a focus for the team as they go into conference play.

“We didn’t play doubles well at all,” said Tyler. “So prior to Illinois State all we did in practice was play doubles.”

On Saturday against ISU, the practice paid off, and the Braves won the doubles point for the first time in four matches. The duos of Wijesinghe and Haight and junior Natalia Barbery and sophomore Sandra Maletin won their matches to obtain the point.

Freshman Bozana Lojpur and Barbery brought in the other two points with both their matches going to three sets. Perlwitz went to a third set, but ultimately lost her match 6-3, 3-6, 4-6.

“It was the best doubles we’ve played all year,” Wijesinghe said. “We just did not get it done in the singles matches, they’re really good singles players.”

The Braves continue their conference schedule with a 2 p.m. match tomorrow at Valparaiso.

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