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Grand slam: women’s tennis wins four titles at Chicago State Invite

September 15, 2014
Nelle Youel

Nelle Youel

The Northern Illinois University women’s tennis team enjoyed a hugely successful opening weekend of its fall season, winning four titles – two in doubles and two in singles – at the Chicago State Invite.

Competing against Chicago State, Chicago, Bradley, Green Bay and Lewis, the Huskies emerged victorious in four of the six brackets. Nelle Youel (Crystal Lake, Ill./Crystal Lake Central) won the top-tier Green singles flight, while Emily Stefancic (Sugar Grove, Ill./West Aurora) claimed the Black singles flight.

“I am proud of the way the team competed this weekend,” NIU head coach Tanya Gombera said. “We performed really well in both singles and doubles as we captured four titles combined.”

Winning the top-tier Green doubles flight was the NIU pair of Nelle Youel and Arantza De La Torre (San Luis Potosi, Mexico/Motolinia), who won their three matches by losing just five games combined. In the Black doubles flight, Maria Rozo (Bogota, Columbia/Gimnasio Femenino) and Abigail Dekkinga (Allegan, Mich./Allegan) brought home the trophy.

In the singles divisions, Nelle Youel cruised to her championship by winning all three of her matches in straight sets – losing just one game in each match. Youel beat fellow Huskie Mary Malkin (Tel Aviv, Israel/Alliance) in the Green flight final after Malkin had survived two three-set matches to reach that point.

Cristina Alvarez

Cristina Alvarez

In the White flight, Cristina Alvarez (Zaragoza, Spain/Cristorey and Sagrado Corazon De Jesus) and Stephanie McDonald (Harare, Zimbabwe/St. Anne’s Diocesan College) both lost tough matches in the semifinals.

Finally, the Black singles bracket saw Stefancic emerge triumphant after she topped her teammate Rozo in the final, 6-2, 6-1.

NIU freshmen Evelyn Youel (Crystal Lake, Ill./Crystal Lake Central) and Jennifer Gates (Bartlett, Ill./Bartlett) also made their competitive collegiate debuts this weekend, rounding out the compliment of 10 Huskies to participate at the Chicago State Invite.

“We have been working really hard in practice and it showed this weekend,” Gombera said. “I am looking forward to this upcoming weekend, where we will face stiff competition.”

The Huskies travel to Minneapolis this weekend for the Gopher Invite.

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