Women’s tennis grapples with injuries in search of another Big East title


Serbian native Milica Tesic. (Photo courtesy of DePaul Athletics).

“Adverse” doesn’t even begin to describe the type of season it has been for the women’s tennis team.

Sitting at an overall record of 5-5, the Blue Demons have been short-handed with injuries. However, that hasn’t halted the team’s spirit or level of optimism for the remainder of the season.

“We’ve had such an unusual year with the injuries (and) we’ve had a couple matches canceled,” head coach Mark Ardizzone said.  He says the team’s record would likely be better if not for those circumstances.

Despite their record appearing to be average on paper, there’s a lot of good to look forward to for a team that has won three of the last four Big East championships. In fact, the team has won its last two matches played, including a 7-0 sweep over the Northern Illinois Huskies and a dominant 6-1 victory over the Eastern Illinois Panthers.

Two of their upcoming final eight matches will be on the east coast against the St. John’s Red Storm on Friday and the Seton Hall Pirates on Saturday, which begins conference play and will really give them a gauge of where they are at this point in the season in preparation for the Big East Championships that begin on April 26.

“We’ve really zeroed in on what we need to do in the Big East and both of these teams this weekend,” Ardizzone said. “St. John’s we played in the finals, Seton Hall we played in the semis last year, so these are upper echelon Big East teams. It’s going to be kind of a great measuring stick for us.”

Milica Teslic, a junior who has been victorious in 11 overall singles matches and in 10 overall double teams this season, emphasized the importance of teammate support.

Teslic says cheering each other on actually helps the team to manage their stress, so they can  dial in on being able to “win every single match, every spot, (and) just focus on all the matches,” said Teslic.

No matter the result of the final regular season matches, the team is confident that they can bring back their fourth Big East title in the last five years.

“All four years in a row we’ve been in the finals and we’ve obviously won it three times,” Ardizzone said. “So we know what it’s like and we kind of know what to expect … we kind of have that advantage over all the other teams.”

And of course, experience with adversity only helps their cause.

“We have a lot of ups and downs,” Teslic said. “But when it matters, we come together and we do it the best we can.”