Women’s tennis maintain winning streak over weekend games

By Thomas Hiley III

The women’s tennis team finished the weekend with a 12-1 record after defeating Nebraska-Omaha 7-0, Drake University 4-3 and Central Arkansas 6-1 in Des Moines, Iowa.

The Huskies are currently on a nine-game winning streak and have their best record since 2003. NIU is primed to have a better record than the ’03 team (13-7) with 11 matches left in the season, but head coach Ryun Ferrell is not looking into what the season can be but what his team can do.

“[We’re] very humble about what we have done,” Ferrell said. “It’s great to do what we did, [but] I think about what we got next. We’re 0-0 going into the next matchup and I work very hard not to think that way.”

The first matchup for the Huskies was against Nebraksa-Omaha, which they won 6-1. The team swept them in doubles with every pairing winning 8-6 to get first point; after that it was smooth sailing. Nelle Youel won her match in the No. 1 singles slot against Alex Tran, 6-2, 6-1. The No. 3 to No. 6 slots had similar results, though Haley Dekkinga won a tough match with three sets to defeat Molly Matricardi 3-6, 6-4, 10-7.

The Drake Bulldogs were a tougher opponent, with the Huskies wining 4-3. The team started on the right track, wining every match in doubles to start off 1-0 heading into singles. Drake was able to keep the match close by winning three matches in singles with NIU wining two matches until it was Dekkinga’s turn to play. In the No. 2 slot, Dekkinga won the match for the Huskies in three sets, losing the first set 4-6 and wining the last two 6-4, 6-3.

“It was an all-out war with Drake,” Ferrell said. “Beginning of the season they were beat up, but against us they were healthier and stronger. I was surprised to win all doubles. It was one of the best matches I have ever seen. [That matchup] gave me more gray hairs then I ever had.”

Heading into the weekend’s last matchup against Central Arkansas, the Huskies won 6-1 to finish off the weekend. NIU won its 11th doubles point in 13 matches and No. 1 Youel improved her singles record to 13-0 on the year. Ferrell was pleased about how he teamed played.

“We looked tired,” Ferrell said. “Anyone playing three matches, you’re going to have mental and physical fatigue, but what I liked most was the heart that we had. If we want to win the conference we have to win three matches like we did.”

The Huskies next match will be on March 9 against the University of Illinois Chicago (6-1), who are on a six-game winning streak.