The Northern Illinois women’s tennis team picked up its first Mid-American Conference win of the season Saturday at the West Tennis Courts. The Huskies eked out a 4-3 victory over the short-handed Toledo Rockets that also marked the team’s 10th win of the season.
“Even with five players, they are still amazingly good and extremely talented,” said NIU head coach Ryun Ferrell. “We had to play some of our best tennis to beat them, and that’s what happened. We talked about having energy and competing. We didn’t want to focus on the end, but how to get there. We did that today and it was great. I’m really proud of my team.”
The Huskies took down the Rockets for the first time since Ferrell joined the program in 2006. NIU overcame a 20-minute rain delay to pull off the victory even though it gained wins by default in the No. 3 doubles and No. 6 singles positions. Sophomore Haley Dekkinga (Allegan, Mich./Allegan) pulled off one of the three singles wins on the day over Lexy Pitt, 6-5, 6-2.
The Huskies nabbed its doubles-clinching victory thanks to the freshmen tandem of Nelle Youel (Crystal Lake, Ill./Crystal Lake Central) and Arantza De La Torre (San Luis Potosi, Mexico/Motolinia). The duo beat Amanda Border and Pia Rygh 8-5 to win the point for NIU.
The key for the Huskies was the final singles match of the day. With the match tied 3-3, Toledo’s Amanda Border and NIU’s De La Torre played to a decisive third set. With teammates and fans from both teams cheering on their respective players, De La Torre fought to a 6-1 score in the final set to win the match for the Huskies. The win marked De La Torre’s sixth of the year and helped NIU to its first 10-win season under Ferrell.
NIU continues MAC play next Friday, April 13, as it travels to Oxford, Ohio to take on the Miami (Ohio) RedHawks at noon CT. The Huskies then take on Ball State in Muncie, Ind. at noon Saturday, April 14.
For more information on NIU women’s tennis and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.