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

Marcel Carrasco

It couldn’t get any better for the women’s tennis team as they took two victories in their spring break trip to Florida this week.

The Huskies faced Bethune-Cookman University Tuesday beating them 4-1, and took out Bucknell University 5-2 Wednesday.

With a winning streak of three, NIU is now going through their longest win streak since the 2016-17 season when they went five matches without a loss.

Related: Women’s tennis snaps month-long losing streak

Wins against the Bethune-Cookman Cougars and Bucknell Bisons also handed NIU their fourth and fifth road victories, an away-victory high since the 2012–13 season.

“I think the biggest thing is having every one of our starters healthy again this season, [it] really helps,” Head Coach Tanya Mahefu said.

 

v. Bethune-Cookman

First-year Fernanda Naves and sophomore Maria Potsi are on fire in doubles play, winning their third consecutive together, matching first-year Paula Veyhle and sophomore Brodie Walker in doubles-play victories with three.

The Huskies came out on top with the doubles match point and sealed the deal in individuals play winning three of four matches. Two matches went unfinished as NIU took the 4-1 victory.

Naves and Potsi faced first-year Michelle Ncube and senior Karen Romero in a 7-5 battle which saw the Huskies pick up one of two couples-play victories.

Veyhle and Walker faced first-year Chalina Godbolt and senior Phatsimo Ruele in a 6-2 NIU ctory, sealing the doubles point and giving the Huskies a lead heading into singles play.

First-year Christy Robinson and junior Jovana Peric teammed up for the third doubles match, but their play went unfinished as the Huskies had already clinched the couples victory.

NIU needed three victories in singles to walk away with a win. With their foot on the pedal, the Huskies were relentless as each Huskie win saw no Wildcat score more than two points.

Walker faced Ruele in a dominant performance by the Huskie. Walker took the first set 6-2, and didn’t let up in the second, finishing with a 6-1 victory.

Robinson took out Romero in another strong performance by the Huskies. Robinson won both sets 6-1 to secure the second single’s point for NIU.

Naves helped seal Tuesday’s victory for NIU putting on her best performance of the season. The Huskie blanked senior Sheerly Bueno in the first set 6-0, and kept her momentum in the second with a 6-1 win.

The Wildcats were able to get one point on the board when Peric fell to Ncube 3-6 and 0-6.

In the unfinished matches, Potsi faced Butt, and Veyhle was tasked with Godbolt.

In two sets, Potsi dropped the first set against the Wiildcat 2-6 before leading in the second 4-3 just as the match was halted.

Veyhle and Godbolt went to two sets where the Huskie took the first 6-4, and lead in the second 4-0.

 

v. Bucknell

NIU fell into a 0-1 deficit after losing the doubles point, but bounced back strong taking five of the six singles matches.

Veyhle and Walker partnered up again winning their second straight together. The Huskies beat out junior Jill Auteri and senior Mishi Papich 6-2.

That was it for NIU in doubles play as the Huskies were not able to fight back and the Bison did not let up.

Robinson and Peric lost in their second match together this season, against sophomore Cayla Koch and junior Paige Leavy. The Huskies’ efforts were not enough as the Bison won 1-6.

Bucknell wrapped up the doubles point with victory at the expense of Naves and Potsi, who snapped their paired win streak. The Huskies fell 5-4 to first-year Daniela Bellini and sophomore Sofia Ayuso.

Singles play painted a different picture for NIU as the Huskies pulled out a strong win, including taking two of three matches that required a decisive third set.

Peric and Bellini faced off in a tight battle. The Huskie lost the first set 4-6 before bouncing back with a 6-4 victory in the second. The third set saw Peric edge out the Bison 1-0.

In the second comeback singles victory, Potsi finished on top with 2-6, 6-3, and 1-0 against Koch. The win gave the Huskies a 2-1 lead.

The Bison got their lone singles-play win when Leavy defeated Walker. The Huskie took the first set 6-2 before Leavy came back in the second 6-4 before wrapping up the win in the third 1-0.

NIU posted three more singles victories coming from Veyhle, Robinson, and Naves.

Veyhle took out Papich 6-4 and 6-1.Robinson faced Ayuso taking the first set 6-4 before shutting out the Bison 6-0 in the second.

Naves followed her performance against Bethune-Cookman with another top performance, this time against Auteri. Naves beat out the Bison 6-3 and 8-2.

The Huskies will now shift gears as they prepare for Mid-American Conference play. NIU is now 5-8 with seven matches left in the regular season.

NIU went winless in the MAC regular season play  last season, but with their three match winning streak the Huskies now seek to end their conference winless streak.

The Huskies’ young core has been resilient this year helping the team bounce back from early-season losses.

“They are beginning to understand what it takes to be at this level and their role is to help guide the team to post-season play,” Mahefu said.

NIU will be back on the courts when they host University of Toledo and Western Michigan University.

The Toledo match is set for 1 p.m. March 22 while the WMU bout is set for 1 p.m. March 24. Both matches will be held at the Boylan Tennis Center in Rockford.