NORMAL — While the Illinois State Redbirds men’s tennis squad is on the road, the ladies prepare for a Saturday afternoon homestand.
After nearly a year out of action, the Lady Redbirds tennis team is back in action against the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Saturday’s showdown will be the first of four straight home matches to start the 2021 campaign.
“To say that we’re excited to get out there and compete is a huge understatement,” says head coach Maja Kovacek. “Our team has done a great job in practice these last few weeks. I feel as comfortable as ever with our preparation at the start of the season.”
Familiar Redbird squad faces returning with some newcomers
Most of the team’s roster from the 2019-20 campaign is returning. However, four newcomers have joined the squad, including two Division I transfers.
After winning the MVP Doubles Award last season, Natalia Bravo and Tara Damnjanovic are returning, following a 6-2 overall record.
Also returning is Laura Arciniegas, who won the Singles MVP award after a 13-3 season. During this season, Arciniegas would have a ten-match winning streak.
The Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks are opening the season with three road matches. They would be victorious against Eastern Illinois on Friday by a score of 4-3 in Bloomington. The Mavericks will face off against the Saint Louis Billikens on Sunday.
The Mavericks would finish 10-4 in the 2019-20 campaign, posting the best Division I start in program history. That was until the season’s premature end due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In accordance with local and state guidelines, fans are not currently allowed to attend home game events. With mitigations changing and ever-evolving, this policy may change at any time. Game dates, opponents, times, and locations are also subject to change.
The Redbirds and Mavericks will start tennis action at 1:30 p.m. Central time.
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Jake Leonard, a broadcast media and journalism veteran, is the editor-in-chief of Heartland Newsfeed. Leonard is also GM and program director of Heartland Newsfeed Radio Network, wrestling editor and contributing writer for Ambush Sports, a contributing writer for My Sports Vote and Midwest Sports Network, and a former contributor to Bleacher Report and Overtime Heroics. He resides at home in Nokomis, Ill. with his dog Buster.