Women’s tennis set for triple-header this weekend

By Thomas Hiley III

Women’s tennis will finish its non-conference matchups this upcoming weekend against UIC (6-1), Missouri-Kansas City (3-9), and Emporia State (6-0) before starting conference play.

Huskies head coach Ryun Ferrell knows a lot about these upcoming teams and is aware of how difficult they are going to be for him and his team.

“UIC, we play them Saturday and they haven’t lost a conference match in 13 years,” Ferrell said. “UM-KC is a much more improved team. Their head coach [Kendell Hale] has turned this team around. Also, Emporia State should be fun as well. [These teams] are very talented and tough.”

UIC is on a six-game winning streak with its last loss coming from Marquette University on Feb. 1. It will travel to Rockford this weekend to face off against the 12-1 Huskies and MAC player of the week Nelle Youel.

Youel is undefeated this season with a 13-0 record with recent victories coming against Nebraska-Omaha, Drake and Central Arkansas. Youel has been a big factor in the Huskies’ success this season, helping them improve the team record from the previous year, whhen it was 11-12.

Youel also received her second MAC player of the week honor. She received her first honor back in January and this will make it the third time someone has won this honor for the team, as Haley Dekkinga also received the honor in February.

Ferrell knows how his players play but doesn’t really expect too much from them this upcoming week.

“I try to have a flow,” Ferrell said. “I don’t expect a thing from my players, but I do demand a lot.”

After the team goes against UIC it will head to Kansas to play against UM-KC and Emporia State. UM-KC is on a three-game losing streak and Emporia State hasn’t lost a match since the fall season.

When the Huskies finish off these three matches, they will be starting conference play against Akron. Ferrell said that is too far into the season to be thinking about.

“I’m not trying to think about it because I get stressed out,” Ferrell said. “I work really hard not to think about it. Focus on the here and now.”

With conference play coming up, it may seem that opposing teams would be afraid of NIU, but the coach is thinking otherwise.

“Conference shouldn’t be afraid of us, other team’s have better records than us,” Ferrell said. “We respect everyone but fear no one.”