The Huskies were held scoreless for the second straight match to bring their overall record to 7-7 onh the season.
“Another tough one,” said NIU head coach Ryun Ferrell. “One of these days we will get over the hump and bust this thing wide open. As for now, we are doing well enough to barely lose. We get new chips every Monday, so here we go.”
Once again, the Huskies were a few points away from making the match an absolute dog fight.
After winning her first set 6-4 over Nikki Chiricosta at the No. 2 spot, freshman Nelle Youel (Crystal Lake, Ill./Crystal Lake Central) fell 6-4 in the second set. She then dropped the super-tiebreaker 1-0 (4).
Fellow freshmen Mary Malkin (Tel Aviv, Israel/Alliance) and Stephanie McDonald (Harare, Zimbabwe/St. Anne’s Diocesan College) also lost heartbreaking matches. Malkin dropped the first set 6-2 to Katie Grubb at the No. 5 slot, however, she recovered in a tough second set for phania 6-4 win.
Like Youel, Malkin also came up short in the super-tiebreaker 7-5. McDonald also lost the first set 6-3 to Jessica Easdale at the No. 6 spot and bounced back in the second set with an easy 6-1 win. But she could not come all the way back for the win, losing the third set 6-2.
While NIU struggled to score for the second day in a row, it has still put together five more victories than last season’s team as the Huskies have six more league matches to get back on track. NIU has relied on mature play from seniors Sara McLaughlin (Moline, Ill./Moline) and Emily Rogers (Rochester, Minn./Century) who have teamed up for five doubles victories and a combined nine singles victories.
The team has also seen an immediate impact from freshmen Youel and Malkin this year. Youel has posted nine singles wins and seven doubles wins. Malkin has added seven singles victories of her own.
The Huskies return to DeKalb for their first home match since March 4 when they take on the Crusaders of Valparaiso at 1 p.m. Friday, March 30.
For more information on NIU women’s tennis or Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.