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Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

Women’s tennis defeats Lewis, wins third straight

NIU Athletics
Sophomore Jenna Horne winds up a shot at the Nelson Tennis Center at Chick Evans Field House. Horne won her doubles match with junior Reagan Welch 6-4 as NIU defeated Lewis University 5-2. (Courtesy of NIU Athletics)

Winning its third straight match, NIU women’s tennis defeated Lewis University (8-3) by a score of 5-2, improving to a 9-5 record on the season. 

The Huskies won two matches to clinch the doubles point, leaving the third match incomplete.

Senior Diana Lukyanova and sophomore Isabella Righi won their match against Lewis graduate student Brooklyn Ross and senior Casey Smith, 6-3. Sophomore Jenna Horne and junior Reagan Welch beat sophomore Benedetta Luccone and junior Sage Hills in a close 6-4 victory. 

Sophomore Nataly Ninova and senior Anastasia Rakita were up 5-3 against Lewis junior Sofiia Vdovychenko and freshman Sreevally Medishetti when the match was ruled incomplete. 

NIU women’s tennis head coach Eric Burns explained the importance of the team’s success in doubles.

“Our doubles play was really solid,” Burns said. “If we can play good doubles, it’s going to put us in a good position going into singles and giving us a chance to win pretty much every match. We did a nice job out there and had good energy in the doubles.”

Four Huskies were victorious in singles matches, clinching the win for NIU. 

Lukyanova controlled her match against Smith from the beginning, winning in 6-2, 6-1 sets. Welch also won her match in two sets, beating Medishetti 6-3, 6-1. 

After dropping the first set 4-6 to Vdovychenko, Righi came back and won the next two sets 6-1, 6-4 to secure her victory. Playing a long match against Ross, Ninova lost the first set tiebreak 6-7 (2-7), before winning the second set tiebreaker 7-5 and securing her win with a 6-2 third set.

“She (Ross) has a bit of a weird game,” Ninova said. “I got a little bit in my head in the first set. When I was down on the second set I just started going back to the basics. She started getting into her head even more and she lost her game, while I found mine. It ended up being a pretty solid finish.”

The two losses came when Luccone defeated Horne in two 6-4 sets, and Hills defeated freshman Sydney Paradise 5-7, 6-1, 1-0 (10-6). 

“We just want to keep the energy going,” Burns said. “Keep fighting, one match at a time. That’s what we talked about for the week, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Conference play is coming up and everyone is saying it’s so important, but we need momentum going into conference play. Every match this weekend is really important to try and build some confidence for that.”

NIU women’s tennis returns home at 9 a.m. Saturday at the Nelson Tennis Center at Chick Evans Field House when they take on Eastern Illinois University. At 3 p.m. they will face the University of St. Thomas to round out non-MAC play. A live stream will be available via Track Tennis and live stats will be provided by IonCourt.

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