Northern Illinois’ No. 1 player Nelle Youel (Crystal Lake, Ill./Crystal Lake Central HS) improved her singles record to 18-2 on the season to record the Huskies’ lone victory in a 6-1 loss to Western Michigan Saturday at the Huskie Tennis Courts in DeKalb.
Youel and the Broncos’ Nina Sujashvili split the first two sets, with Youel taking the first set 6-3 before Sujashvili evened the match with a 6-4 win in the second set. Youel outlasted the WMU player in the super tie-breaker, 10-7 to claim her second win of the weekend.
The Huskies played tough in every match on the day. NIU’s Stephanie McDonald fell 13-11 in the third set super tie-breaker to drop her match at No. 6 singles, while Arantza De La Torre narrowly missed sending her match at No. 4 singles to a third set, falling 7-6 in the second set.
Northern Illinois also played tough in doubles in the team’s second match with its current doubles line-up. The new No. 1 and No. 2 duos both dropped 8-4 decisions as NIU lost the doubles point.
NIU head coach Ryun Ferrell was encouraged by what he saw from the Huskies Saturday.
“We played the best we have played so far this conference season,” Ferrell said. “We had so many chances, it gives me confidence that sooner or later we will bust through. We will continue to work and train hard and the fight will continue to get easier for us.”
Northern Illinois is now 14-6 overall, 0-4 in the Mid-American Conference, while Western Michigan improved to 10-9, 3-0. NIU will take next weekend off before opening the second half of the MAC regular season Friday, April 12, at Toledo.