It’s the end of an era for the Creighton women’s tennis team and a bittersweet moment for coach Tom Lilly.
An 11 a.m. match with Bradley at Hanscom Indoor Tennis Center on Saturday will mark the 7-9 Bluejays’ final home match as members of the Missouri Valley Conference.
They’ll move to the Big East next season, which Lilly acknowledges is a big deal. Still, he’s been a part of the Valley since 1988 as a player, assistant and coach.
“We have a lot of great memories being in the Missouri Valley Conference,” he said.
He shared that message with other Valley coaches.
It also will be senior day for Anna Kirshenbaum. The Omaha Marian graduate is the only Nebraskan on the roster.
“Anna has been a very important part of our program, and we will be sad to see her go,” Lilly said. “She is very well known around Omaha and the entire state as one of the best to come out of this state for tennis.”
Kirshenbaum, who won four state doubles titles for Marian, has been playing No. 3 singles and No. 1 doubles with Analese Snyder this spring.
She’s 8-9 in singles, bouncing back from a 1-6 start. In doubles, she was 4-2 with Jennie Hartjes in the fall. She and Snyder are 5-8.
“She’s right up there with the smartest players I’ve coached on a tennis court,” Lilly said.
Kirshenbaum played No. 1 singles as a sophomore but sat out last year for health reasons.
She said it’s great to be back and has especially enjoyed being a leader as the lone senior.
“It being my last year, I just had a lot of fun with it,” she said. “I took a whole new look on my tennis career, knowing the end was near.”
Though Kirshenbaum is leaving, Lilly has added another Marian player for next year in Katherine Nelsen.
“She will be a great addition to our team,” he said.
Contact the writer: