During the University of South Dakota’s women’s tennis team March 25-26 matches in Las Vegas, Nev., junior Shadi Soleymani was injured early in the first day, which head coach Malcolm Gilreath said affected the rest of the team’s performance for the weekend.
The team fell to 4-11 on the season, with losses to Idaho State University 1-6, Southern Utah University 0-7 and Seattle University 1-6.
“These schools were all tough competition and I thought we played well,”
Gilreath said. “When Shadi was injured, we had to default at number six singles and number three doubles for the rest of the weekend, since we only had five players who could compete. It’s hard to win matches when you’re missing those points.”
Sophomore Veronika Makashov said the matches could have gone better, but since the women hadn’t played outside much, the conditions were a shock.
Gilreath said the weather did make a difference in some of the matches.
“We had a good time in Las Vegas and it was competitive, but it’s a different place to play,” Gilreath said. “It wasn’t as hot as it normally is, but it was very windy. It was a good experience for our women.”
While the women faced some tough opponents, Soleymani said they didn’t play as well as she was expecting them to, as she thought they would be able to win a few more matches.
“We were close in some matches, which is good, but we need to be winning,” Soleymani said. “One doubles team did beat their opponents against Southern Utah and Seattle.”
Because of Soleymani’s injury, Makashov said the team had to switch the
line-up they had been expecting to play.
“Now, we just have to be ready for anything,” Makashov said. “I’m not playing with the same doubles partner anymore, so that will take some adjusting for both of us. Doubles is all about chemistry with your partner, so we have to take this week to learn each other’s game styles and learn how to communicate with each other.”
Heading into the April 2 match against the University of North Dakota, Soleymani said she’s hopeful she’ll be able to play in USD’s only home match of the season.
“As of right now, the doctor has given me a negative on whether I can play,” Soleymani said. “I had been trying to play through the injury, so we’re giving it this week to rest and see if it can heal by Saturday. The doctor didn’t sound too thrilled about me playing on it again so soon.”
To prepare for the match against UND, Makashov said the women have been practicing outside to help them deal with the current weather conditions and are continuing to focus on doubles.
“The doubles point is always the most important, and now that we had to change our line-up, it’s suddenly become even more important,” Makashov said.
USD played UND last year and lost 4-3.
“North Dakota is a really good team, but I’m expecting it to be a close match,” Makashov said. “If everyone shows up and does what they need to do, we can win.”
Gilreath said North Dakota is a very competitive team and is one of the top teams in the Great West Conference.
“We need to compete and continue to work on our games,” Gilreath said. “We’re almost through the season, so we need to stay healthy and focused.
Having an injury on the team makes it hard when we have to move everyone up. The main goal is to be competitive this weekend at home.”
Reach reporter Kayla Prasek at Kayla.M.Prasek@usd.edu