The Northern Illinois women’s tennis team continued its fantastic start to the season Sunday by defeating Eastern Illinois 6-1 at the Boylan Tennis Center.
The 5-2 mark by the Huskies is the best start for the team in nearly a decade.
“We battled well today,” said NIU head coach Ryun Ferrell. “We just went to work. It was nothing fancy. Just good ol’ fashioned, blue collar, nose-to-the-grind stone work. It was a nice effort.”
While the win wasn’t fancy, the play of freshman sensation Mary Malkin (Tel Aviv, Isreal/Alliance) has been to start the spring season. Malkin is off to a 7-0 start after defeating Eastern’s Kristen Laird, 6-0, 6-4, and hasn’t dropped a set since the Huskie’s first match against Drake.
Grinding out her fourth win of the year was senior Sara McLaughlin (Moline, Ill./Moline), who took down the Panther’s Merritt Whitley, 6-1, 3-6, 6-4. Freshmen Nelle Youel (Crystal Lake, Ill./Crystal Lake Central) and Arantza De La Torre (San Luis Potosi, Mexico/Motolinia) both earned victories over Janelle Prisner and Annie Egan, respectively. The wins were Youel’s fifth and De La Torre’s fourth on the season.
Also picking up a singles victory on Sunday was sophomore Haley Dekkinga (Allegan, Mich./Allegan) after squeaking by EIU’s Amanda Dibbs by a score of 7-6, 6-5. The victory marked Dekkinga’s fifth of the year.
The doubles play of the Huskies continued their amazing start while posting their third straight match without losing a set. The tandem of McLaughlin and Emily Rogers (Rochester, Minn./Century) took down the Panther’s team of Whitley/Prisner, 8-2.
Earning their third straight win of the season, the duo of Youel/De La Torre defeated their Eastern Illinois counterpart of Dibbs/Laird by a mark of 8-4. Also winning their third match in a row were partners Stephanie McDonald (Harare, Zimbabwe/St. Anne’s Diocesan College) and Dekkinga. They won over Kim/Egan 8-2 to cap the Huskie victory.
The Huskies make their next appearance on Saturday, Feb. 25, at 1 p.m. CT in Carbondale, Ill., against Arkansas State. They will match-up with the Salukis of Southern Illinois on Sunday, Feb. 26, at 10 a.m.
For more information on NIU women’s tennis and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.