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Youel, Alvarez enjoy singles success at UIC Invite

October 6, 2014
Nelle Youel

Nelle Youel

Nelle Youel and Cristina Alvarez won the top two singles flights at the UIC Invitational last weekend, leading the Northern Illinois University women’s tennis team at another successful fall tournament.

Youel (Crystal Lake, Ill./Crystal Lake Central) won her second tournament of the fall in dominant fashion, winning every set in the three matches she competed in on her way to the trophy in the Singles A flight. She also won the Chicago State Invite top singles division in September.

Alvarez (Zaragoza, Spain/Cristorey and Sagrado Corazon De Jesus) won a dramatic match to win the Singles B flight, knocking off Oana Manole from UIC in the final, 7-5, 2-6, 10-4. She had reached the final by dropping just three games in her previous two matches but showed her ability to also win a close match in the final.

NIU head coach Tanya Gombera was pleased to see the Huskies take the top two singles division at the three-team tournament, which also included UIC and Valparaiso.

“I am happy with the way that the team played in singles this weekend and throughout the fall. We have been working hard on singles and it is showing,” Gombera said.

Maria Rozo (Bogota, Columbia/Gimnasio Femenino) almost gave NIU a singles sweep in the Singles C flight as she reached the final, but Rozo fell in a hard-fought third-set tiebreaker to UIC’s Bianca Zuzu.

Cristina Alvarez

Cristina Alvarez

Gombera noted that NIU still has room for improvement in doubles matches as the team looks forward to accomplishing its goals in the spring.

“However, we do need to keep working on our doubles as it will be crucial for our success as a team in the spring,” she said.

The NIU pair of Mary Malkin (Tel Aviv, Israel/Alliance) and Stephanie McDonald (Harare, Zimbabwe/St. Anne’s Diocesan College) finished in third in the only doubles flight at the UIC Invitational.

The Huskies return to action in two weeks with regional competition in Champaign and Rockford. For more information on NIU women’s tennis and Huskie athletics, visit