The Northern Illinois women’s tennis team will continue Mid-American Conference play this weekend as it travels to Oxford, Ohio and Muncie, Ind. to take on Miami (OH) and Ball State, respectively.
The Huskies take on the RedHawks (11-9, 6-0 MAC) on Friday, April 13 at 12:00 p.m. CT on the Hepburn Tennis Courts. NIU will follow it up with a match against the BSU Cardinals (5-13, 0-6 MAC) at the Cardinal Creek Tennis Center at noon Saturday, April 14.
NIU earned its first MAC win of the season last weekend after splitting a pair of matches against Eastern Michigan and Toledo.
The Huskies’ victory over Toledo marked their 10th of the season and the first time in head coach Ryun Ferrell’s tenure that the team has achieved double-digit wins. The team will look to move to .500 in MAC play with tw0 victories this weekend.
“I like our chances this weekend,” said Ferrell. “The big thing is we are focusing on the game plan. We want to serve well and make them hit at least three shots every time. We just want to stick the plan. If we do that, I feel like we will be just fine.”
Huge contributions have been made by the youth of the roster that have led to the team’s surprising rise from last season. After recording only two victories all of last spring, sophomore Haley Dekkinga (Allegan, Mich./Allegan) and freshman Nelle Youel (Crystal Lake, Ill./Crystal Lake Central) have helped morph the Huskies into a competitive force. The teammates mark the first time in the Ferrell era that two Huskies have 20 or more combined wins.
Dekkinga has fought her way to a singles record of 11-6 and is on a four-match winning streak.
She has also earned a doubles record of 12-6, with 10 of the victories coming alongside her main doubles partner, freshman Stephanie McDonald (Harare, Zimbabwe/St. Anne’s Diocesan College). Youel has earned 22 combined W’s of her own including a team-leading 12 in singles play.
She has remained the team’s most consistent player of the 2011-12 campaign as she also posted a combine 13-5 record in the fall. Her 35 combined wins have marked the highest of any Ferrell-coached Huskie.
For more information on NIU women’s tennis and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.