Women’s tennis fails to advance past first round of MAC Championships


 Singles #1 – April 27, 2012 vs. Akron

By Mike Romor

NIU hosted the women’s tennis MAC Championships over the weekend, but the Huskies failed to advance past the first round.

Going up against the eventual winners of the tournament, Akron, NIU lost 4-0.

NIU came into the season trying to rebound from a 2-17 2011 campaign that included a winless conference season. The Huskies improved mightily from then to now, finishing this year with an 11-11 regular season record and two MAC victories.

Akron swept Western Michigan in the semifinals to face top-seeded Miami (Ohio) to defend last season’s MAC Championship.

Miami gave the Zips all it had in the championship match, but could not take down Akron in its second straight tournament title. Akron won in a 4-3 thriller that was clinched by tournament MVP Prang Pantusart. Pantusart started strong at third singles, but allowed Miami’s Nimisha Mohan to win a back-and-forth second set. Pantusart bounced back to end the third set quickly, 6-0.

Pantusart was joined by teammate Zara Harutyunyan on the All-Tournament team.

“It felt good to get a couple girls on the All-Tournament team,” said Akron coach Brandon Padgett. “Prang came through in a huge, huge way, as she did last year.”

Akron previously lost to the RedHawks, who won the MAC Championship in 2009 and 2010, 4-3 during the regular season. The win was only the second in program history against Miami. The lone other win was in last year’s MAC tournament.

“You never want to have to lose the doubles point and try to pick up four singles victories,” Padgett said. “Last year, we came away winners because we won the doubles point. We needed to turn the tables on them and we were able to do just that.”