The Northern Illinois women’s tennis team came into Day Two of competition looking to build off a solid showing Friday.
With all six singles players in contention to win a championship, the Huskies look to be in a great position at the Drake Invitational after Saturday’s play.
“It was a very good day overall,” said NIU head coach Ryun Ferrell.
“For as young as they are, they stepped up nicely today. It was nice to see us get down to business and win matches, especially our first matches of the day. We started off at a certain level and finished at a different level. We just kept getting a little better and a little better as the day went on.”
In Flight A, sophomore Nelle Youel (Crystal Lake, Ill/Crystal Lake Central) cruised through the field, winning her first match against Masa Smic (Wichita State) in straight sets 6-1,6-0 and then her second with an identical score against Stephanie Petsis (North Dakota). Youel will take the court for the championship Sunday against Rebecca Pedrazzi (Wichita State).
In Flight B, junior Haley Dekkinga (Allegan, Mich./Allegan) lost her opening match against Montse Fernandez (Wichita State) in three sets 6-3, 4-6, 6-4. Dekkinga bounced back to win her second match in straight sets 6-2, 6-2 against Hallie Welk (North Dakota). Dekkinga looks to advance to the consolation championship with her opening match Sunday against Analese Snyder (Creighton).
In Flight C, Sophomore Mary Malkin (Tel Aviv, Israel/Alliance) will also be playing for a championship Sunday thanks to winning her first two matches. Malkin defeated Lindsay Weideman (Nebraska-Omaha) in straight sets 6-3,6-1 and then took down Summer Schlotterback (Wichita State) 7-5,6-2. Malkin looks to win it all Sunday against Mariel Ante (Drake).
In Flight D, there are two Huskies looking to take home the championship.
Sophomore Arantza De La Torre (San Luis Potosi, Mexico/Motolinia) took care of business with her two matches to advance to the championship match. De La Torre opened the day with a victory in straight sets 6-3, 6-0 against Karlin Naslund (Creighton) and then followed that with another straight set victory 6-0, 6-1 against Megan Sween (North Dakota).
Stephanie McDonald (Harare, Zimbabwe/St. Anne’s Diocesan College) won her opening match in three sets 3-6, 7-6, 6-2. McDonald will face off against Liz Vermillion (Creighton) in order to see who will take teammate De La Torre in the championship.
In Flight E, Freshman Cristina Alvarez (Zaragoza, Spain/Cristorey and Sagrado Corazon De Jesus) took down her first opponent Rachel Pierson (Nebraska-Omaha) in straight sets 6-3, 6-0. Alvarez then lost her second match 6-1, 6-2 against Ali Patterson (Drake). Alvarez will continue play tomorrow against Veronkia Makashov (South Dakota) to try to advance to the consolation championship.
In Flight F, Freshman Maria Rozo (Bogota, Columbia/Gimnasio Femenino) won her only match of the day in three sets 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 against E. Pierson (Nebraska-Omaha). Rozo will look to advance to championship as she takes on Amanda Noonan (Creighton).
After the Huskies went a combined 10-2 in match play on the day, singles play will continue on to Sunday with each Huskie having a chance to win a championship.
“We’ve played a ton of tennis this weekend so we just have to come together and grind out another day tomorrow and see where it takes us,” Ferrell said. “I like where we are at but we need to keep pushing.”
For more information on NIU women’s tennis and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.