Women’s Tennis drops first two in MAC play

By Marcel Carrasco

DeKALB — Two weekend Mid-American Conference losses kept the women’s tennis team winless in conference play since the 2016-17 season.

The Huskies opened up MAC play with two home matches held at the Boylan Tennis Center in Rockford.

NIU first faced the University of Toledo Friday where the Rockets defeated the Huskies 2-5. Sunday’s match against Western Michigan University saw the Huskies fall again, 2-5.

The last time NIU hosted both teams, the Huskies came out on top beating both teams 4-3 dating back to the 2016-17 season.

In doubles’ play the Huskies are in a three-match drought, and have only taken the doubles’ point once in the past 10 matches. NIU is 3-7 in that span including four home matches.

Related: Winning streak hits three as Women’s Tennis wins two in Florida

“I think the team competed well and we are right up there with the teams, but we need to get better in doubles and learn how to close games better,” Head Coach Tanya Mahefu said.

Sophomore Maria Potsi is on fire in singles play with a 8-4 team-leading record including a three-match win streak while first-year Christy Robinson extended her run of four victories in her last five matches in singles play.

“I’m proud of [Potsi] and her growth,” Mahefu said. “She has been a leader and I know the girls have been looking up to her.”


v. Toledo

Toledo was first on the scoreboard when Potsi and junior Jovana Peric paired again in doubles play, arriving with a 3-1 record. The Huskie pair lost their bout to junior Dee Dee Leenabanchong and senior Kokoro Chishaki, 3-6.

The Rockets sealed the deal with a 3-6 defeat of first-year Paula Veyhle and sophomore Lara Slisko against first-year Kiersten Carlson and senior Thalita Rodrigues.

First-years Christy Robinson and Fernanda Naves lined up as the third doubles pair but their match went unfinished.

Singles play saw the Huskies take only two of the six matches.

Potsi and first-year Brodie Walker took the two wins, but not without a battle. Potsi defeated first-year Eileen Carney 6-2 and 7-5. Walker came from behind to beat out Chishaki in three sets 3-6, 7-6, and 10-7.

Peric and Leenabanchong met again, but this time alone. The Huskie was unsuccessful against as the Rocket took the match 2-6, 1-6.

Three more Huskie loss came from Naves, Robinson, and Veyhle.

Naves was edged out by senior Claire Aleck 5-7,4-6. Robinson fell to Rodrigues 2-6, 3-6 while Veyhle lost to first-year Christina Fuller 4-6, 3-6.


v. Western Michigan

The Broncos kicked off their eventual victory by taking the doubles point.

Veyhle and Slisko paired up again, but fell 4-6 to senior Melina Lyubomirova and first-year Femke Tjon-A-Joe. Veyhle and Slisko are now 2-7 when playing together this year.

Robinson and Naves closed out doubles play with a 3-6 loss to senior Denise Azcui and junior Gabriela Slavova. The Huskies are now 2-2 together.

Peric and Potsi again hit the court together, but their matchup against senior Katja Fevralev and first year Kristina Tiraspolsky went unfinished.

NIU took two of the six singles matches. Potsi and Robinson each went home with a victory.

Potsi took care of Azcui 7-6, (7-5), 7-5. The Huskie sits at 8-4 in singles play this year being the only NIU player with a winning record.

Robinson came from behind to grab three-set 4-6, 6-2, 1-0 victory against sophomore Valerie Riegraf. She currently holds a 7-8 record, and is second on the team in singles play victories. Robinson is one of two Huskies to play in every match this season.

NIU’s four losses included a three set drop from Veyhle, and a shutout against Peric.

Walker, and Naves did not have enough and fell to Fevralev, and Tiraspolsy.

The two weekend losses snapped a three-match winning streak for NIU, and added to its conference-play woes. NIU has taken five home conference matches in the last four seasons while winning three on the road.

NIU will prepare for a pair of MAC matches in Ohio this weekend. The Huskies will face Bowling Green State University at noon Friday in Bowling Green, Ohio before taking on Miami University at noon Sunday in Oxford, Ohio.