Despite the cold weather, Missouri Western tennis earned a chilly win over Rockhurst University last Saturday in Kansas City, Missouri, and now improve to 5-3 on the season.
The female athletes won 6-3, and have won their last five of seven matches. This loss drops Rockhurst to a 1-2 record.
Sophomore Federica Salmaso and Emilee Dent won 8-6 in the number three-doubles, the first time number three-doubles had won a match of the year. Salmaso believes this victory sparked an ignition for the team heading into the singles matches.
“I think our win gave the team a lot of momentum,” Salmaso said. “Dent and I played really well, and we improved in communicating with each other. The momentum helped us keep winning during the singles, and it was really nice to see all of us girls work together for the win.”
Salmaso and Dent weren’t even originally scheduled to play together in the doubles, but head coach Shawn Becker made a last minute change to the lineup.
“They weren’t supposed to play together on Saturday; it was a last minute lineup change,” Becker said. “We were just having them work through their issues. Emilee and I had a little bit of an emotional moment because that was her first doubles win in her two years here.”
Becker shedded more light on why there was a change in the lineup.
“It was supposed to be Emilee and Katherine Yeacker together,” Becker said. “There are some off the court issues going on, and I didn’t want that to distract us from what we needed to do on the court.”
Western lost their first doubles match, but would regain their footing and the lead with two straight wins in the doubles. They would then win the first three singles matches and go up 5-1 at the moment, effectively sealing the victory.
With five wins this season, Western has already matched their total amount of wins last season, which saw them go 5-17. Senior Sofia Aguilera Tovar credited the improvement to a healthier team overall.
“We are just getting started with this season,” Aguilera Tovar said. “We are working hard and results show that. The big difference is the health of our team. Our top players were injured for most of last season, and our goal this semester is to stay healthy and continue to improve our record.”
Western will travel Saturday, Feb. 10, to Russelville, Arkansas, to take on Arkansas Tech.