Women’s tennis snaps month-long losing streak

By Marcel Carrasco

ROCKFORD, IL- With their 4-3 victory over the Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis Jaguars, the women’s tennis team snapped a six-match losing streak that dated back to Feb. 8.

February was a tough month for NIU as they went 1-6. A team low for February since the 2010-11 season when they went 1-4.

“It feels great,” Head Coach Tanya Mahefu said. “February has been tough on [our] team in terms of injuries, and we are slowly getting healthy.  It’s good to have one of these matches go our way.”

The Jaguars were first on the scoreboard when IUPUI took the early couples point, but the Huskies fought back in singles play.

Robinson and junior Brodie Walker were only able to score only one point against first-year Christina Stankovic and senior Pariella Pessina as the Huskies fell 1-6.

NIU’s other couple’s loss came from first-year Paula Veyhle and sophomore Lara Slisko which sealed the couples point for the Jaguars. The Huskie couple faced first-year Samantha Hayward and redshirt first-year Meghan Bernard ending in a 3-6 defeat.

Sophomore Maria Potsi and junior Jovana Peric team up for their fourth time this season. The couple went on to defeat sophomore Krystal Grubb and first-year Gabrielle Ochalik, 6-3. Potsi and Peric are now 3-1 in couples play.

In singles, the Jaguars took two victories in the top half of matches, but the Huskies rallied. NIU won the following three matches including a three-set nail biter from first year Christy Robinson.

Potsi and Stankovic got through one set before the match had to be called due to a Potsi injury. The Jaguar took the first set 4-6. Naves faced Bernard in a hard fought loss 3-6 and 4-6.

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Walker broke up the Jaguars’ victories as she took down first-year Sarah Lounsbery. The Huskie had no problem handling the Jaguar in a 6-2, 6-2 win.

Veyhle was tasked with Pessina and did not let down. The Huskie was strong in her 6-3, 6-3 victory.

The Peric and Ochalik dual was hard fought going to seven points in both sets as the Huskie squeezed out a 7-6, 7-5 victory.

Robinson and Grubb battled toe-to-toe as the Jaguar took the first set 4-6, before Robinson fired back with a 6-4, 7-5 victory.

Saturday’s win over the Jaguars marks the third victory of the season for NIU all of which are road wins. The Huskies are now well past last year’s away victory record as Huskies were shut out on the road.

“We have to keep playing smart and focus on what we can control,” Mahefu said.

The Huskies will travel to Florida for two matches during spring break as they get a chance to escape the dreadful Illinois weather.

“The team is so excited to finally get a good win against a quality team,” Mahefu said. “We are ready to have a good week of matches in Florida as well.”

The Huskies are set to face Bethune-Cookman University 11 a.m. Tuesday in Daytona Beach before facing Bucknell University Wednesday in Orlando with the start time yet to be announced.