The Northern Illinois women’s tennis team opened up fall play on a solid note, going a combined 5-4 in doubles play and winning a consolation championship during Day One of the Drake Invitational on Friday.
“The attitude was nice,” said NIU head coach Ryun Ferrell.
“The thing I like the most is that we started off OK, but bounced back. We had the deer-in-head-lights type of thing going on because we are very young. We have no senior leadership and our juniors are finding their way. As the day progressed, they got tougher and tougher. We had a different coach with each doubles team so we got to see each team throughout the day to make adjustments. It was a tough, fun day.”
In Flight A, the duo of Arantza De La Torre (San Luis Potosi, Mexico/Motolinia) and Nelle Youel (Crystal Lake, Ill./Crystal Lake Central) opened up with an 8-5 win over Norh Dakota’s Petsis/Welk. They then fell to Wichita State’s Fernandez/Pedrazzi, 8-5, to take third place.
Two Huskie teams were in Flight B and both lost their first matches before bouncing back strong.
Cristina Alvarez (Zaragoza, Spain/Cristorey and Sagrado Corazon De Jesus) and Haley Dekkinga (Allegan, Mich./Allegan) began with an 8-5 loss to Creighton’s Snyder/Kirshenbaum but topped South Dakota’s Pavlovic/Reddy, 8-5, to advance to the consolation championship.
Meanwhile, Mary Malkin (Tel Aviv, Israel/Alliance) and Ilse Pacheco (San Luis Potosí, Mexico/Alma Patria) dropped their first match to Wichita State’s Schlotterback/Smic, 8-6 and rebounded for an 8-6 victory over Nebraska Omaha’s Matricardi/Pierson to advance to the consolation championship as well.
In the NIU friendly, it was Alvarez and Dekkinga who came out on top for the consolation title in a highly-competitive match that ended with a 9-7 decision.
Stephanie McDonald (Harare, Zimbabwe/St. Anne’s Diocesan College) and Maria Rozo (Bogota, Columbia/Gimnasio Femenino) represented the Huskies in Flight C and started with an 8-4 win over South Dakota’s Barudzic/Warder. The duo would then take third place after falling 8-4 to Creighton’s Koehrsen/Noonan.
In the Round Robin Flight of singles play, freshman Sarah Boyd (Aurora, Ill./Alpha Omega Academy) lost in straight sets (6-2, 6-0) to Drake’s Amanda Dick.
With doubles play complete, the Huskies will begin singles play Saturday and Sunday. Complete draws are available online.
For more information on NIU women’s tennis and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.