Women’s tennis opens season with a strong showing at the Bowling Green Invitational


Junior Maria Potsi prepares to for a serve during a match at the NIU Tennis Courts.

By James Krause

DeKALB — The women’s tennis team put on an impressive showing in its first invitational under new Head Coach Eric Burns in Bowling Green, Ohio.

The Bowling Green State University Invitational took part Friday and Saturday, featuring players from Mid-American Conference foes like Bowling Green and University of Toledo. Players from other Midwest schools competed, including Oakland University, Oberlin College, Tiffin University and the University of Findlay.

The Huskies failed to win a tournament championship in any of the six brackets, but had six different semifinalists. Sophomore Christy Robinson made the semifinals in both her singles and doubles competition.

Burns, coming off four years coaching the tennis program at Wright State University, said he’s happy with the effort his team put forth in its season opening competition.

“I was pleased with the effort this weekend,” Burns said in an NIU Athletics press release Sunday. “The team competed hard all weekend and it was a positive start to our season.”

Brown Singles Bracket 

Sophomores Paula Veyhle and Julia Dmitrieva both reached the semifinals of the Brown bracket. 

After winning her opening round match, Veyhle needed three sets to beat Oakland’s junior Darya Maltseva 7-6, 0-6 and 7-5. Dmitrieva received a first round bye before defeating Findlay sophomore Cristina Nieto in three sets.

On Saturday, both fell in straight sets in the semifinals. Dmitrieva lost 6-3 and 6-4 to BGSU first-year Joanna Tsadari, while Veyhle fell 6-1 and 6-4 to eventual bracket champion, BGSU senior Ayumi Sasaki.

Orange Singles Bracket

With the help of a first round bye, junior Maria Potsi reached the semifinals of the Orange bracket. Potsi defeated Oakland first-year Victoria Kurz before falling to the eventual runner up, BGSU junior Yulia Kapitanova.

Senior Jovana Peric won her opening round contest in three sets, but retired in the first set of her quarterfinals matchup against Oakland junior Ava Thielman. Thielman went on to win the bracket.

Freddie Falcon Singles Bracket

Sophomores Fernanda Naves and Christy Robinson both picked up victories before being bounced from the Freddie Falcon bracket.

Robinson reached the tournament’s semifinals by advancing with a first round bye and a nearly perfect two set victory over Tiffin first-year Dominique Matich-Reynolds. Robinson eventually fell in two sets to Oakland senior Samantha Galloway.

Naves beat Tiffin sophomore Shea Foster 6-3 and 6-1, before being eliminated by Toledo sophomore Chrissy Fuller.

Frieda Falcon Singles Bracket

NIU made another semifinals appearance thanks to junior Lara Silsko, beating Tiffin’s Aliya Brown and Findlay’s first-year Taylor Lightly in straight sets. 

The Huskies failed once again to put a player in the finals of a bracket when Silsko fell to Toledo first-year Laura Morera. Senior Mary Ellen Green was unable to finish her opening round contest, losing in a walkout.

Fight Doubles Bracket

Robinson reached her second semifinals of the invitational, partnering with Naves to beat a Findlay duo before falling 6-2 to Oakland first-year players Chelsa Dzenga and Nirva Patel.

Green and Silsko were eliminated in the first round of the tournament but made the finals of the Back Draw portion of the tournament, ultimately losing to Tiffin’s sophomore Shea Foster and juniors Anais Geslin.

Grit Doubles Bracket

Both NIU pairs reached the Grit Doubles quarterfinals, with both being eliminated in the same round.

After a 6-1 win in the first round, Potsi and Veyhle were eliminated by the BGSU team of Sasaki and Kapitanova. Despite receiving first-round byes, Dmitrieva and Peric were also eliminated by a BGSU pair in junior Marta Bettinelli and senior Marharita-Sophia Tavpash.

NIU will be competing again when the team travels to West Lafayette, Indiana for the Purdue Invitational. The tournament runs from Friday to Sunday.