Women’s tennis close season with a loss

By Thomas Hiley III

The women’s tennis team’s season finally came to a close last weekend as it lost its eighth straight conference match.

The Huskies finished the season 14-10 and 0-8 in conference play.

At the beginning of the season the Huskies won three of their first four matches, taking down Bradley University (9-16), Western Illinois University (1-17) and Valparaiso University (2-20). The only loss was against Southern Illinois University (17-4), 6-1.

The Huskies were on fire after that loss, finishing their non-conference schedule with a 14-2 record before heading into MAC play. Before conference the Huskies didn’t know the meaning of losing. They won nine straight matches after the loss to SIU, and had two players win player of the week awards in Nelle Youel and Haley Dekkinga.

The Huskies saw their success go downhill with the start of conference. They lost every conference match, with the contest against the Toledo Rockets (8-13, 2-6 MAC) being the closest at 4-3.

“It’s going to take steps to get better,” Youel said. “We’ve the talent but execution is key and also believing.”

With all the success the Huskies were having head coach Ryun Ferrell didn’t know what were the team’s weaknesses. Toward the middle of conference play Ferrell realized his doubles pairings weren’t too strong, but it was too late.

“We kind of figured it out,” Ferrell said. “If we were to play next weekend we could win.”

Even with the struggles in conference, No. 1 Youel was able to set a milestone, having the most singles victories in NIU women’s history with 27. She is upset about how the season turned out after the fast start, but thinks it shows you how tough the MAC is.

“Beginning of the season we were hot,” Youel said. “The losses show how hard the conference is, but we’re happy about having a winning record.”

The Huskies will now get ready for next season. Ferrell said just because the Huskies won’t be in the MAC Championships doesn’t mean the season is over.

“[This summer we hope to] get in better shape, play better, really just the basics,” Ferrell said. “I can’t wait to see what happens in the future.”