Opening day of the DePaul Invitational was quite the learning experience for the young Northern Illinois women’s tennis team as wins were tough to come by in both doubles and singles play while in Chicago.
However, the Huskies have a pair of doubles teams in contention for the Flight B title.
In Flight A of doubles NIU had two teams looking to maneuver through the field. However, both were met with an early defeat as the duo of Haley Dekkinga (Allegan, Michigan/Allegan) and Cristina Alvarez (Zaragoza, Spain/Cristorey and Sagrado Corazon De Jesus) lost their first two matches on the day.
The first match finished 8-4 to Ana Valdutu/Carolin Neumann (DePaul) and the second match during consolation play finished at 8-3 to Kelly Fritz/Dana Shannon (Milwaukee).
The other NIU team in the flight was the pair of Nelle Youel (Crystal Lake, ILL/Crystal Lake Central) and Arantza De La Torre (San Luis Potosi, Mexico/Motolinia). This pair dropped their first match 8-5 to Karyn Emeralda/ Marni Perez (Chicago State) but was able to bounce back and take their second match of the day in consolation, 8-3, against Kristin Zakiewicz/Michele Fredlake (Valparaiso). The duo will continue doubles play Saturday in search of a consolation championship.
In Flight B of doubles NIU again had two teams aiming for the championship and fared a little better with both winning their only matches of the day. The team of Mary Malkin (Tel Aviv, Israel/Alliance) and Ilse Pacheco (San Luis Potosi, Mexico/Alma Patria) had an opening round bye. In the second round of doubles the pair faced off against Kendra Mills/Jill Wetmore (Lewis) and won 8-5. They look to advance to the championship during play Saturday.
Also winning their opening doubles match was the team of Maria Rozo (Bogota, Columbia/Gimnaso Femenino) and Stephanie McDonald (Harae, Zimbabwe/St. Anne’s Diocesan College). They won 8-3 against Angelina Goheen/Aubree Zdanovec (Valparaiso) and had a bye in their second round, looking to continue the run to the championship Saturday.
“You need days like this,” said NIU head coach Ryun Ferrell. “As a young team it’s definitely a learning experience. We have to learn how to handle ourselves when we get punched in the mouth like we did earlier in the day. We have to learn how to approach that. You can’t always just punch them right back.”
In Flight A of singles play the Huskies had Youel and Dekkinga looking to battle their way to championship contention, but both took straight set losses. Youel lost 6-0, 6-3 to Haley Craig (UIC) and Dekkinga lost in straight sets 6-3, 6-3 to Carolin Neuman (DePaul). Both move into the consolation portion of the bracket for Saturday’s competition.
In Flight B De La Torre was the lone Huskies to compete. The sophomore put up a tough fight but went down in straight sets 6-3, 6-5 to Zsofia Krancziki (Lewis). De La Torre will play Saturday looking to advance through the consolation bracket.
“Arantza played very well” said Ferrell. “Even though she lost in straight sets, she battled really, really hard. She lost the first set and then came back with a plan but just wasn’t able to pull it out.”
In Flight C Malkin took the court for the Huskies while McDonald had a bye into Saturday. Malkin, too, went down in straight sets 6-3, 6-4 to Shannon (Milwaukee) and looks to bounce back Saturday as she starts consolation competition.
In Flight D Alvarez also lost her match in straight sets 6-2, 6-2 against Ashley Pabey (Valparaiso). She looks to work her way through to consolation bracket as well.
In Flight E Rozo will begin her singles play today against Mills (Lewis).
“Overall it was a solid day simply because of what we were able to learn from it”, said Ferrell. “I’m glad it happened early. The best thing about this is we get to play again tomorrow.”
For more information on NIU women’s tennis and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.