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Aces! Women’s tennis players Haley Dekkinga, Nelle Youel earn Academic All-MAC placements

May 16, 2013
Nelle Youel

Nelle Youel

Northern Illinois women’s tennis players Haley Dekkinga (Allegan, Mich./Allegan HS) and Nelle Youel (Crystal Lake, Ill./Crystal Lake Central HS) have been named to the 2013 Academic All-MAC Women’s Tennis team as selected by the league’s faculty athletics representatives, the Mid-American Conference Office announced Thursday.

In addition, Youel earned one of 10 spots on the Capital One Academic All-District Women’s At-Large Team selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).

Youel is the only women’s tennis player on the District 5 squad as the at-large category includes nominees from the sports of golf, tennis, gymnastics, swimming and diving, crew, lacrosse, ice hockey and field hockey.

As a member of the All-District team, she is now eligible for the Capital One Academic All-America team. In order to be nominated, student-athletes must carry a GPA of 3.3 or higher and be a starter or important reserve. The Division I All-District 5 team includes student-athletes from Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio.

A 4.0 student in health sciences/pre-physical therapy, Youel won 50 total matches at No. 1 singles and No. 1 doubles for Northern Illinois this season. She broke the NIU school record for singles victories in a season and became the first Northern Illinois player in 11 years named to the first-team All Mid-American Conference squad.

In singles play, she finished the 2012-13 campaign 27-5, including a 21-3 mark this spring. In doubles, she posted a 19-5 record in the spring and was 23-7 on the year. The 5-6 right-hander was named MAC Women’s Tennis Player of the Week three times, and was the MAC Scholar-Athlete of the Week on April 26.

Haley Dekkinga

Haley Dekkinga

Dekkinga carries a 3.92 GPA in health sciences/pre-physical therapy at Northern Illinois while playing No. 2 singles and No. 2 doubles for the Huskies.

She won 18 singles matches this season, and posted a winning record of 13-11 during the spring dual match season. Teamed with three different partners during the year, she went 11-11 in doubles this spring. Dekkinga won 33 total (singles plus doubles) matches on the year.

“This is great news,” said NIU head coach Ryun Ferrell. “Nelle and Haley are prime examples of the term `student-athlete’. They compete at a very high level and do an outstanding job in the classroom. I could not be more proud.”

Dekkinga and Youel are the first Huskies named to the Academic All-MAC Women’s Tennis squad in six years, since Chrissy Nagel earned the honor in 2007.

They are just the seventh and eighth NIU players to be named Academic All-MAC all-time. Dekkinga was an honorable mention selection to the squad a year ago as a sophomore.

In addition to Dekkinga and Youel, Mary Malkin qualified for honorable mention Academic All-MAC status with a 3.65 GPA in psychology.

Northern Illinois closed out the spring dual match season with a 14-10 record, the first winning season by a Huskie women’s tennis team since 2002-03. NIU’s 14 dual match wins were the program’s most in 16 years, since the 1997 squad won 15 matches.

For more information on NIU women’s tennis and Huskie athletics, visit