Coming off a season last year in which they won just one match and finished in last place in the Ohio Valley Conference, outsider expectations for the Redhawks Women’s Tennis team this season were not high. In the conference pre-season poll, the OVC head coaches predicted Southeast to finish eighth in the 10-team league.
Coming into the season, second-year head coach Mary Beth Gunn stated that the team’s goal was to qualify for the OVC Tennis Tournament – which the team has not qualified for since the 2007 season. But now, with just three matches remaining this season, the Redhawks may have their sights set on winning the OVC Championship.
The Redhawk Tennis team is off to one of its best starts in program history with a 12-5 record overall at the time of recording, including a 4-2 record in OVC play – good enough for second place in the standings. It’s the most wins overall since 2006, and the team has clinched a record above .500 for the first time since that same season. In fact, in the previous 25 seasons dating back to 1991, the SEMO women’s tennis program has finished above .500 just five times.
The difference this year has been a solid line-up, from top to bottom, that has allowed the Redhawks to be competitive in every match. In singles play, the Redhawks have won 60 percent of their OVC matches, led in large part by a pair of outstanding Ukranian freshmen: Oleksandra Doroshenko, or “Sasha,” as she’s referred to by her teammates, and Kseniya Zonova.
The two Ukranian freshman have combined to post a 24-7 record in singles play this season, and Doroshenko has twice been named the OVC Female Tennis Athlete of the Week.
The Tennis team returns home on Saturday, April 8, in another key OVC match-up. They’ll host Jacksonville State at Noon, at the Southeast Tennis Complex at Sprigg & Bertling street. SEMO Tennis matches are always free and open to the public.
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