Women’s tennis to take on Akron and Buffalo

By Thomas Hiley III

The women’s tennis team will head to Ohio and New York this weekend to start off conference play against back-to-back MAC champions Akron Zips (8-6), and also undefeated Buffalo (9-0).

The Huskies have a record of 14-2, but despite their success head coach Ryun Ferrell said his team cant focus on past victories.

With NIU just starting to get its rhythm back playing outside, Ferrell will change his practice regimen with conference play coming up.

“Practice will be very hard,” Ferrell said. “[Our] approach will be the same but we’ll be a lit bit more away from the courts.”

Going into conference play, Akron and Buffalo are going to be tough teams for the Huskies as they are two of the best teams in the MAC. Ferrell said the MAC picked NIU to be one of the worst teams in the conference, with Akron predicted to win another championship. The Zips had 65 votes with five being first-place votes, while NIU had only 19 votes, right above Toledo which has 15.

“They predicted us to be eight out of nine teams,” Ferrell said. “Even with our record I bet that they will still put us there.”

Heading into both matchups the Huskies will have to keep working on what Ferrell has been talking about all season: doubles play. This is important for the team because it will determine the first point of the match, and whoever wins doubles has a better percentage of winning the match.

The Huskies have an overall record of 30-9 in doubles play with No. 1 pairing in Nelle Youel/Arantza De La Torre going undefeated with 13 wins, and Haley Dekkinga/Stephanie McDonald right behind them with nine wins on the season.

“Akron won it all last year and have a solid team,” Ferrell said. “They have three players extremely talented [and] very tough. I have a Bill Parcells philosophy to keep doing it till we get it done and it’s second nature.”