The Missouri State women's tennis team begins the 2015 season on the road and head coach Mallory Weber, junior Ema Turudija and freshman Abbey Belote gives Bears All-Access a preview of what's in store for the team.
The Missouri State Bears tennis team plays in its first tournament on Saturday, Sept. 13, at the Drury Fall Tournament in Springfield. Coach Mallory Weber, junior Miranda Poile and sophomore Mackenzie Rozell spoke to Bears All-Access about the new era of MSU tennis.
Missouri State introduced Mallory Weber as its women's tennis head coach on Feb. 28, 2014, and she begins her third season leading the Bears during the 2016-17 school year. Weber and the Bears look to continue the momentum the program gained during a breakout 2015-16 season.
After getting off to a slow start, Weber's Bears rattled off eight straight victories, a mark that spanned from March 4-April 10 and improved MSU to 10-10 at the time. The eight-match winning streak was the longest for the program since the 2001-02 season, a year in which the Bears reached the NCAA Tournament. The MSU women's tennis team under Weber's guidance also earned its first academic and all-conference performers. Senior Miranda Poile became the Bears' first MVC Scholar-Athlete Team and senior Ema Turudija the first All-MVC First Team selection since the program was discontinued in 2006.
The Bears' 11 victories almost tripled their win total from a year prior. MSU made significant strides in both singles and doubles play, with MSU’s dual singles winning percentage improving from .308 to .403 behind 23 more victories. The Bears’ doubles teams’ winning percentages also increased, improving from .151 to .349 with 14 more wins in dual action. While only Anelisse Torrico Moreno had double-digit victories in the 2014-15 season, she was joined in that category by four others during the 2015-16 season.
In their first season of competition in almost 10 years, the Bears picked up four dual victories in the spring of 2015. In its third match of the season, Missouri State defeated IUPUI, 6-1, in Columbia for their first win since 2006. Weber's group won its first home match at Cooper Tennis Complex on Feb. 21, 4-3, over South Dakota State and its first Missouri Valley Conference dual over Illinois State on April 12.
Leading the Bears in their first season of play was spring arrival freshman Anelisse Torrico Moreno, who under Weber's direction finished with a team-best 11-9 record, which included an eight-match win streak.
Weber previously served as an assistant women's tennis coach at the University of Texas at San Antonio starting in August 2013. While at UTSA, Weber assisted head coach Erin Scott in a variety of areas including running practices, instruction, communicating with recruits, and organizing team logistics.
Weber also gathered experience as an assistant tennis coach at Rock Bridge High School in Columbia, Mo., where she assisted legendary coach Ben Loeb's boys and girls tennis teams since 2011. She helped develop drills for practices and instructed players on strategies for matches. She also worked as a Nike Tennis Camp instructor during the summer of 2011 at Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif.
Weber was a decorated tennis player at the University of Missouri-Columbia from 2007-2011, where she was nominated for the school's Female Athlete of the Year award as a senior and earned Academic All-Big 12 first team laurels three times from 2009-2011. She earned placement on the school's Commissioner's Honor Roll every semester during her playing career.
As a player for the Tigers, Weber compiled a career singles record of 58-57 and a doubles ledger of 54-43. She achieved a career-high doubles ranking of 43 from the International Tennis Coaches Association. Her fall 2009 campaign at Missouri was marked by receiving a No. 16 seed in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Central Regionals in Norman, Oklahoma, and advancing to the round of 16 before falling to the No. 2 seed.
The native of Belleville, Illinois, earned her bachelor's degree in secondary education from Missouri in 2011. Her degree included an emphasis and certification in English and language arts. Weber completed a master's degree in sport management at Missouri State in 2015.