As host of one of the many ITA Regionals throughout the country this weekend, the Northern Illinois women’s tennis team is off to a solid start after the first day of play at Boylan Tennis Center on Friday.
Four Huskies are in the singles semifinals of their respective flights and one doubles tandem is in the semifinal of its flight.
In the biggest match of the day for NIU, the sophomore duo of Nelle Youel (Crystal Lake, Ill./Crystal Lake Central) and Arantza De La Torre (San Luis Potosi, Mexico/Motolinia) lost a hard-fought doubles match to Notre Dame’s Gleason/Manningham, 8-6. The match took place in Champaign, Ill. as part of the 2012 USTA/ITA Midwest Regional in which players will compete for a spot in the prestigious USTA/ITA National Indoor Collegiate Championships on Nov. 8-11 at the USTA-Bille Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y.
Meanwhile in doubles play at Boylan, the three Huskie pairs each received first round byes in their draws. In the Alpha Draw, Haley Dekkinga (Allegan, Mich./Allegan) and Cristina Alvarez (Zaragoza, Spain/Cristorey and Sagrado Corazon De Jesus) lost 8-4 to Michigan State’s Silesova/Herzog and will face Wisconsin’s Rabot/Wohlstrom for third place.
In the Beta Draw, Maria Rozo (Bogota, Columbia/Gimnasio Femenino) and Ilse Pacheco (San Luis Potosí, Mexico/Alma Patria) fell 8-4 to Chicago State’s Lloyd/Noel and will face Michigan State’s Yen/Meyers for third. The most successful doubles team for NIU was Mary Malkin (Tel Aviv, Israel/Alliance) and Stephanie McDonald (Harare, Zimbabwe/St. Anne’s Diocesan College), who topped Yen/Meyers 8-6 and will face Lloyd/Noel for the championship.
In singles play, Dekkinga and Rozo represented NIU in the top flight – the Alpha Draw. Dekkinga cruised past Western Illinois’ Ese Davis 6-0, 6-0 and will face Chicago State’s Karyn Emeralda in the semifinals. Rozo was topped by Milwaukee’s Kristin Kurer 6-1, 6-1. The freshman will take on Wisconsin’s Helen Rabot in the consolation semifinals.
NIU found its most success in the Bravo Draw as both Alvarez and McDonald advanced to the semifinals. Alvarez took care of Chicago State’s Carynne Lloyd 6-2, 6-3 and will take on Michigan State’s Jennifer Yen. McDonald swept Western Illinois’ Jessica Callahan 6-0, 6-0 and will face Western Michigan’s Kathleen Hawkins.
In the Charlie Draw, Malkin also advanced to the semifinals after defeating Detroit-Mercy’s Chloe Karoub 7-6, 6-3. The sophomore will take on Wisconsin’s Pernilla Wohlstrom next.
In the Delta Draw, both Pacheco and Sarah Boyd (Aurora, Ill./Alpha Omega Academy) dropped their opening matches. Pacheco lost 6-3, 6-2 to Chicago State’s Vivine Noel and will face Western Illinois’ Jessica Theobold in the consolation semifinals. Boyd fell 6-2, 6-2 to Chicago State’s Marnie Perez and will face the winner of Pacheco/Theobold in the consolation finals.
“We played tough today,” said NIU head coach Ryun Ferrell. “We still have a lot of tennis to be played. We moved some of the freshmen up to see what they can do and they have responded very well. In regards to Nelle and Arantza, they lost a tough match to a very good Notre Dame team. I could not be more proud of those two. Their best tennis is in front of them.”
Youel will continue play in Champaign today with singles competition, while De La Torre cheers her on as only Youel received an invite to compete in the prestigious singles draw, marking the first time in over a decade that a Huskie has receive such an invite.
The rest of the Huskies will resume play in Rockford today in doubles and singles action.
For more information on NIU women’s tennis and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.