SIUE women’s tennis bowed out of its first NCAA Tournament with a first-round loss against No. 6 Vanderbilt.
The Cougars end their season with a 19-5 overall record, a program high in wins in the Division I era.
“What an amazing finish to our season,” said SIUE coach Nick Mueller. “We threw everything we had at Vanderbilt today. They are very good and very well-coached. We battled against one of the best teams in college tennis. I’m so proud of our team and everything they have given this year. They represented SIUE with a lot of class today.”
The Commodores jumped out to and early lead by winning the doubles point with wins at the No. 2 and No. 3 spots. Mia Frogner and Madeline Hill battled at No. 1, but the point was clinched with the pair down 3-2.
Vanderbilt earned its singles points at the No. 2, No. 5 and No. 6 positions. Freshman Madeline Hill at No. 3 held a 3-1 lead during the second set of her match and played the longest first set out of any of the Cougars.
SIUE earned the automatic bid to the tournament after winning its first-ever Ohio Valley Conference regular season and tournament titles. The Cougars placed junior Lexi Aranda on the All-OVC first team and Frogner and Hill on the All-OVC second team. Hill won 31 singles matches this season, the most wins of any Cougar in the Division I era.
“It has been the greatest privilege to be a part of this amazing team at SIUE,” said senior McKenzie Thomas. “I couldn’t have imagined a better way to end my college career than winning the conference and playing in the NCAA Tournament. There is no one else I would have wanted to play with besides these seven amazing girls.”
“Just to be in the NCAA Tournament and competing against the defending National Champions is an incredible experience for us all,” added senior Sierra Halverson. “This was a special team to be a part of.”