The Northern Illinois women’s tennis team will host its second home match of the season against Milwaukee at 1 p.m. Sunday, March 4, at the Boylan Tennis Center in Rockford, Ill.
The Huskies are looking to improve upon their 5-4 record after two losses last weekend against Southern Illinois and Arkansas State. Milwaukee is 7-3 on the season and will make its first road appearance since Feb. 9.
The Huskies have seen early success this season thanks to hot starts from a trio of youngsters. Freshmen Mary Malkin (Tel Aviv, Israel/Alliance) and Nelle Youel (Crystal Lake, Ill./Crystal Lake Central) are 7-2 and 6-3 on the season, respectively. Malkin began the season 7-0 and didn’t drop a set from Jan. 28 to Feb. 25.
Adding to the impressive run for the Huskies has been sophomore Haley Dekkinga (Allegan, Mich./Allegan). Dekkinga joins Youel at 6-3 in singles play on the year.
“We’ve changed things a little bit, said NIU head coach Ryun Ferrell. “We are working on taking our shot when we get it. In the past – and we can still do this – I have preferred to play the percentage game. Just hit the ball back to the opponent and make them really work. Now, I feel like we finally have the talent to start playing differently. We are taking it to the next level. The team knows we are good. I’m trying to push them to be great. That’s what we are working on.”
Dekkinga has teamed with another freshman, Stephanie McDonald (Harare, Zimbabwe/St. Anne’s Diocesan College), to rack up a doubles record of 5-1, including five wins in a row.
Doubles play has been a key to the Huskies early success this season as the NIU duos have gone an impressive 17-10 so far. Dekkinga is 7-2 on the year in doubles play with three partners. Also adding five victories to the wins column has been the senior tandem of Sara McLaughlin (Moline, Ill./Moline) and Emily Rogers (Rochester, Minn./Century). McLaughlin has posted four singles victories as well.
For more information on NIU women’s tennis and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.