Huskies fail to defend home court against Eastern Michigan


Sean Reed

NIU sophomore tennis player Reagan Welch during a doubles match on Jan. 14 against University of Iowa players on the fourth court at Nelson Tennis Center. (Sean Reed | Northern Star)

By Zack Rodriguez, Sports Reporter

DeKALB – NIU women’s tennis dropped its contest against Eastern Michigan University by a score of 5-2 Friday (April 14) at Nelson Tennis Center in Chick Evans Field. EMU evened the season series against NIU at 1-1.

With the loss, NIU falls to 12-13 overall and 2-5 in the MAC. EMU improves to 6-6 overall, and 3-4 in the conference.

EMU got revenge on NIU after last Friday’s 4-3 loss at home. NIU came from behind in that matchup, winning three consecutive matches in the final moments. 


The Huskies won just one of the three doubles matchups. EMU secured victories at the No. 2 and No. 3 spots to claim a 1-0 lead on NIU. 

Junior Diana Lukyanova and sophomore Reagan Welch were knotted up 2-2 against EMU sophomores Sabina Brichackova and Prerna Vichare before losing four consecutive points. NIU lost the match by a set score of 6-3.

Huskie sophomore Erika Dimitriev and freshman Nataly Ninova dominated at the No. 1 spot against freshmen Daniella Shved and Wanyi Zhang, earning the first five points of the match. The duo took the match by a 6-1 margin to claim the only doubles victory for NIU. 

“They were just very aggressive from the start, both served very well and worked cohesively as a team,” NIU  women’s tennis head coach Eric Burns said. “When one partner executes well, then it allows the other to remain aggressive.” 


The Huskies underwhelmed through singles play, winning two out of six matchups. Two consecutive losses at the No. 5 and No. 6 spot awarded EMU the win. 

EMU claimed the first singles match with a straight-set victory at the No. 4 spot. Zhang defeated Welch 6-3, 6-1 to create a 2-0 lead early on. 

Dimitriev got the Huskies back on track with a commanding 6-2, 6-2 victory over junior Andrea Quiroz at  No.1. 

Vichare and Lukyanova were locked into a tight three-set tiebreaker at the No. 2 spot. Perna was held scoreless in the first set, losing 6-0 to Lukyanova before a second-set resurgence. Vichare came back with a 6-4 victory in the second set to earn a third tiebreaking set. Lukyanova outlasted Vichare with a 6-2 win in the tiebreaker to clinch NIU’s second point of the afternoon. 

Despite winning just two matches during singles play, Burns said he was impressed with the way his group battled. 

“We fought back, much like the first match last weekend when we took the last 3 matches to win 4-3,” Burns said. “Despite the outcome, I’m impressed with the adversity this group showed during singles.” 


The Huskies’ homestand continues at 1 p.m. Sunday as they take on Ball State University at the Nelson Tennis Center in Chick Evans Field House. Live stats will be available via iOncourt.