Lady Lions remain undefeated

SLU tennis

The pair of freshmen Dani Raygadas and Lucia Bustamante played a large role in the Lady Lion’s 2-0 start to the season. Both Lady Lions went undefeated in single and double matches against Alcorn State and Southern University.
The Lion’s Roar / Heather Jewell

The Lady Lions tennis team returned to the court this past Thursday and Friday for the beginning of their new season.

The new team is a young one led by their single upperclassman, junior Andrea “Renee” Villarreal. Aside from Villarreal, the team has two sophomores Margaux Kaltenbacher and Avika Sagwal and five freshmen, Anna Bryukhova, Lucia Bustamante, Natalie Duran, Daniela Raygadas and Madina Vorotnikova.

All the girls have varying international backgrounds and traveled far to play at Southeastern.

“I was really nervous at first, but we have a strong team; we get along really well, we support each other and we have become really good friends,” said Raygadas, a native of Mexico.

The girls played their first match against Alcorn on Thursday with a winning score of 5-2.

Their duel match victories included freshmen Bustamante, Raygadas and Vorotnikova.

The match opened with Villarreal and Bryukhova defeating their opponents at court number 1. They were followed by Bustamante and Raygadas winning 6-2 at court number 2.

The team’s two sophomores Kaltenbacher and Sagwal finished off their own opponents with a score of 6-0.

In singles, Raygadas won with 6-1, 6-1 scores, increasing the Lady Lion’s lead to 2-0.

Vorotnikova continued to amplify the score to 3-0 with her 6-1, 6-0 victories.

Villarreal, a two time All Southland Conference and All Louisiana Selection, won her match 6-4, 6-4, giving the Lady Lions their fourth point.

Then Bustamante closed out the match, fighting against her opponent with a near score of 6-4, 2-6, 6-2.

Following their Alcorn victory, the ladies immediately repeated the victory against Southern the next day. With their victory of 4-0, the Lady Lion’s increased their season’s score to 2-0.

In the double matches, on court 1, Villarreal again partnered with Bryukhova and won 6-0.

On court two, the freshmen team of Bustamante and Raygadas were also victorious against their own opponents.

“Our doubles today were better than what they were yesterday; we [as a team] were better also,” said Bryukhova, a native of Russia.

Going into their singles matches, the Lady Lions lead did not change for the worst. They continued to pack the heat and emerged victorious.

Villarreal increased the team’s score when she beat Southern’s Laura Syori 6-1-6-4.

Bryukhova won her first collegiate victory as a Lion when she defeated Southern’s Darnesha Moore 6-3, 6-3.

The match was put to an end when Bustamante won 6-3, 6-1 over Morgan Taylor.

“So far it’s been great, we’re going to have a lot of good days and we’re going to have a lot of bad days; I tell them, ‘you can always play twice as hard, or twice as smart,’ and they did that,” said head coach Jason Hayes.

The girls’ practice period will last until their next match against Southern Miss on Feb. 20, at 4:00 p.m.