Women’s tennis seeks 1st MAC victory

By Shaquil Manigault

Women’s tennis will look to end its three-match losing streak this weekend.

The Huskies (5-7, 0-2 MAC) will play the Akron Zips (10-9, 0-2 MAC) at 1 p.m. Friday in Rockford. They will then face the Buffalo Bulls (10-3, 1-1 MAC) at 4 p.m. Saturday in Rockford. These two games mark the start of a stretch of conference games the Huskies will play to conclude the regular season.

Including the two games this weekend, the Huskies’ next six out of seven games will be against conference opponents.

Head coach Ryun Ferrell won’t be making any drastic changes in the Huskies’ preparations. Ferrell said the team just wants to play clean tennis and eliminate small mistakes that cost the Huskies wins earlier in the season. In terms of practice, Ferrell has ramped up how hard the players are working, along with increasing the intensity.

Conference play is different than regular season games as the teams know each other well enough to negate any advantage in focusing on specific match-ups. Instead, Ferrell wants his team to focus on what it does well and have faith in the hard work put in during practice.

“… Anyone can beat anyone on any given day,” Ferrell said.

Although these two games are considered home games, NIU has to travel an hour to Rockford to play its games, in addition to the back-to-back games the Huskies will play this weekend. With this travel schedule, fatigue could become a factor in the performance of the team.

While the Huskies will play back-to-back matches, their opponents will each only play one game this weekend, putting NIU at a disadvantage. Ferrell said he won’t allow this to be an excuse.

“I will put my team’s fitness up versus anyone,” Ferrell said.

The Huskies have an 0-2 conference record, and with the regular season coming to an end and the post season around the corner, it’s important the Huskies win at least one of these match-ups in order to make the playoffs. Of the nine teams in the MAC, only six teams get in to the playoffs. Historically, a team needs about three conference wins to get in.

Ferrel said he doesn’t think that winning three conference meets will be a problem for his team because he has a lot of confidence in it.

“We expect to win every time we play,” Ferrell said