In the final match before beginning Mid-American Conference play, Northern Illinois dropped a 6-1 decision to a red-hot Embry-Riddle team on Friday afternoon.
After ending Bethune Cookman’s 10-match winning streak Wednesday, the Huskies could not turn the trick for a second time on their spring break trip as the Eagles (11-1, 4-0 TSC) won their ninth straight match.
NIU entered the day with back-to-back wins in its previous two contests but the surging Eagles prevented the Huskies from running off three straight wins for the second time this season.
Embry-Riddle quickly took the doubles point by sweeping all three matches. Haley Dekkinga (Allegan, Mich./Allegan) and Stephanie McDonald (Harare, Zimbabwe/St. Anne’s Diocesan College) were the closest with an 8-6 decision against Kristina Marova and Paola Montero at the No. 3 spot.
In singles play, Nelle Youel (Crystal Lake, Ill./Crystal Lake Central) was the lone Huskie to earn a victory. The freshman took down Rocio Frej Vitalle at the No. 2 spot, 6-1, 6-3, for her fourth consecutive win.
All the other Huskies lost in straight sets except Emily Rogers (Rochester, Minn./Century), who fell 7-5, 3-6, (7) to Ekaterina Kamendova at the No. 3 slot. Mary Malkin (Tel Aviv, Israel/Alliance) fell to Josefine Strom at No. 5, 6-4, 10-8, on a tiebreaker in the second set.
“We had chances up and down the lineup,” said NIU head coach Ryun Ferrell. “We let them off the hook. Embry-Riddle is a good team, but I really believe that with what we have we can take them down, definitely. But we are going to get back to work and take out frustrations on Western Michigan next week.”
At 7-5, the Huskies enter MAC play in the best shape since Ferrell took over the program back in 2006. First up in the conference slate for NIU is Western Michigan. The Huskies and Broncos will square off in Kalamazoo, Mich., at noon Friday, March 23.