Women’s tennis drops two of three at home

Straume 11-1 after first loss

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Women’s tennis drops two of three at home

Annika Sillanpaa prepares a forehand versus Morgan State on March 25.

Annika Sillanpaa prepares a forehand versus Morgan State on March 25.

Calvin Shomaker/The Seahawk

Annika Sillanpaa prepares a forehand versus Morgan State on March 25.

Calvin Shomaker/The Seahawk

Calvin Shomaker/The Seahawk

Annika Sillanpaa prepares a forehand versus Morgan State on March 25.

Calvin Shomaker, Copy Editor

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UNC Wilmington’s women’s tennis team entered the weekend with a 5-4 record and an undefeated No. 1 player in junior Madara Straume. A win against Morgan State and losses to Winthrop and Delaware now makes UNCW’s record 6-6 with five regular season matches remaining before April’s conference championship in Elon, North Carolina.

On Friday, Winthrop improved to 14-4 on the season as they beat the Seahawks 5-2. Straume suffered her first loss of the year 6-3, 7-5 to Winthrop’s Lauren Proctor, who collected win number 16.

In doubles action, sophomore Sabrina Barisano and Straume lost for the first time all year 6-4. In singles, Senior Annika Sillanpaa won at No. 2 and junior Xandra Fougner won at No. 5.

On Saturday, the Seahawks bounced back with a decisive 7-0 win over Morgan State. All singles matches were decided in two sets.

On Sunday, UNCW hosted Delaware in its first conference matchup since losing to Elon 5-2 on Feb. 25. In doubles action, Alix Theodossiou and Sillanpaa were the first to win with a 6-3 decision on court two. Delaware then stole the doubles point as Fougner and Laura Gomez lost on court three before Barisano and Straume lost in a tiebreaker 8-6 on court one.

In singles, Straume picked up win number 11 as Barisano improved her singles record to 7-5 with a win on court five. Fougner then won on court four for her sixth singles win of the season to put UNCW up 3-1.

UNCW and Delaware were tied 3-3 after Sillanpaa and Theodossiou both lost in two sets. Celeste Matute then lost in the deciding third set 6-4 on court six after battling back from losing a first set tiebreaker 11-9.

“I’ve been really proud of the team,” said Straume. “We’ve been working on creating more energy and creating that atmosphere where we help each other and where we encourage each other each day … I think we’ve been doing a better job across the board.”

After losing a set in a match earlier in the season, Straume told UNCW coach Hans Olsen something that caught his attention – that she was enjoying the day’s adventure.

“I like to see each match as a new adventure to learn and as a new opportunity to kind of face yourself, because you can’t run away from yourself when you’re on the court,” said Straume. “It’s not always about execution; it’s about your intention. Each day, just give your all out there and you’ll have no regrets.”

This weekend, the UNCW travels to James Madison and Towson before returning to Wilmington to take on North Carolina Central on April 12 for Senior Day.

The regular season wraps up at College of Charleston on April 14 before the Colonial Athletic Association Championship begins on April 20 in Elon, N.C.

“Coach [Olsen] is a really wise man and I appreciate working with him so much,” said Straume, who transferred to UNCW after one season at Louisiana State. “I just keep having that feeling that it’s all for a reason and I just think it is a really great thing that I’m at this school – it feels right to be here.”

Notable – UNCW’s last conference title and NCAA tournament berth was in 2014, when the Seahawks went 17-4 overall and 7-0 versus conference opponents. Since then, UNCW is 24-24.

Quote of the day  “It’s kind of my home,” said Straume. “This is a place I think I will truly miss when I have to move on to the next stage in my life because of the environment and the people and their mentality. It’s great to have that encouraging environment around. That’s really a dream come true and that’s really special.”

Copy Editor Calvin Shomaker can be found on Twitter @cshomaker12. Any tips or suggestions should be directed via email to njt8879@uncw.edu.