|Redbirds fall in MVC Championship finals|
|Written by Kevin Powell, Daily Vidette Reporter|
|Monday, 30 April 2012 10:31|
The Illinois State women’s tennis team competed in the Missouri Valley Conference Championships this past weekend, where the Redbirds advanced to the finals but dropped their match to Wichita State, 4-1.
“The conference was bittersweet,” senior Aniko Kiss said. “It was exciting to be in the conference [championships], but it was sad because it was the last time we competed.”
ISU got the ball rolling when it swept the first four points against Creighton to advance to the second round in Omaha, Neb.
Kiss and Emmie Marx defeated Jennie Hartjes and Analese Snyder, 8-0, in the No. 1 spot, while Stefanie Youngberg and Hannah Esker had a closer match with Elizabeth Vermillion and Amanda Noonan, 8-6.
“Winning the doubles point always puts us in a great place to start,” ISU head coach Chris Hoover said. “The No. 2 flight for Creighton was named to the MVC All-Conference team, so we knew they would be tough to beat. We came out competitive, and that really carried through for the rest of the matches.”
Marx also won her match, 7-6 (7-3), 6-3, over Kelsey Schmidt. Kiss and Phyllis Tigges each won their singles matches as well.
“Heading into Drake, we’re hoping to start it off competitive and strong,” Hoover said after ISU defeated Creighton. “Every flight is a battle for that point, and we’re hoping to down Drake just like they downed us during regular season play.”
ISU was able to do exactly that when it won, 4-0, against Drake to advance to the finals.
Kiss and Marx were the first to win for ISU when they won a close match against Gabriela Demos and Manca Krizman, 8-6 in the No. 1 flight.
Tigges and Ariane Maack paired up to take down Klavdija Rebol and Jessica Aguilera, 8-6.
Kiss racked up another win in the No. 1 singles spot against Krizman, 6-3, 6-3, with Marx and Carolina Abello also picking up wins for the Redbirds.
“Everyone played well,” Hoover said after defeating Drake. “The team is excited to move into the finals. This is our third year in a row where we’re poised to win, so we’re coming ready to play.”
In the last two years, ISU had lost to Wichita State in the conference finals, and this year made it three in a row.
The Redbirds fell to No. 58 WSU, 4-1, in the conference finals.
“We were ambushed in doubles,” Hoover said. “Despite posting losses, I was very proud of the way the team performed. Wichita State just proved too much for us to handle.”
Kiss and Marx lost to Lucia Kovalova and Delia Damaschin, 8-0, with Tigges and Maack falling to No. 82 Lutfiana Budiharto and Carla Venticinque, 8-0.
“Phyllis played amazingly well today,” Hoover said. “She has done amazing things this year. She has improved in all aspects of the game, and I am expecting even better things from her next season.”
Despite the loss, ISU is hoping next year will be just as promising with nearly all athletes returning, besides the graduating Kiss and Esker.
“It was a tough loss,” Hoover said. “But I know we’ll be back again next year.”