Southeast Missouri State University student publication

Tennis’ individual fall season to kick off

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Southeast women’s tennis is right around the corner, and expectations are high after advancing in the Ohio Valley Conference Tennis Championship last season.

The tennis squad finished its previous season with a record of 12-10, but their season ended in the semifinals of the OVC Tennis Championship against undefeated Austin Peay. In the match, the Redhawks won doubles in the second position but proceeded to drop the rest of the matches.

Even with that loss, the Redhawks made big strides as a program when the team won its first OVC tournament match in 16 years, and freshman standout Romana Tarajova earned First-Team All-OVC honors to go with her OVC Freshman of the Year Award.

Both the coaching staff and the players are prepared to use their experience to compete for the OVC Championship this season.

Prior to the season opener Friday, Sept. 13, Southeast coach Mary Beth Gunn and sophomore No. 1 singles player Romana Tarajova, spoke about what to expect from the Redhawks this season.

Tarajova stated she is excited to watch her new freshman teammate Vivian Lai play this season. The team announced her signing onto the squad ahead of the season.

Gunn talked about the impact of Lai, what the team learned from the intrasquad scrimmage on Saturday, Sept. 7 and team building for the upcoming season.

“The matches were very competitive, which is great because it makes us better and it pushes us to work harder,” Gunn said.

Gunn said she was impressed with what the team did last season and wants the team to build on it.

“It was a milestone for our program … it was a huge step forward for female tennis and a huge confidence booster as well,” Gunn said. “Now we know that we can compete with anyone in the conference … we’re going to most definitely use our experience (players) going forward.”

The team's newest addition, Lai is already impressing Gunn with her play and experience.

“Vivian is a very strong addition to our program … she’s really going to be a difference-maker for our team. We’re also really excited to have her because she’s coming in with tournament experience under her belt.”

Gunn said the team is primarily focused on making it to the OVC championship for a second consecutive season.

“These fall matches that we’re doing are really preparing us for that. Our focus right now is really on improvement so we can be ready for the Spring,” Gunn said.

The Redhawks return seven of eight players from last season, carrying over plenty of chemistry.

The Redhawks begin their season Friday, Sept. 13 against Austin Peay in Clarksville, Tennessee.