‘Head held high’: women’s tennis attends MAC invitational


By Abbe Barton

The NIU women’s tennis team finished Western Michigan’s Fall MAC invitational with its head held high.

Although Friday wasn’t as successful as they had hoped it would be, the Huskies still had another day to make up for their mistakes.

The tournament included MAC teams Ball State, Bowling Green, Eastern Michigan, Toledo, and host Western Michigan.

Friday marked the first day of competitions of the two-day tournament.

NIU Flight B Doubles team Haley Dekkinga and Nelle Youel advanced to the finals after defeating Ball State’s Ashlyn Rang and Dena Boulieris 8-5. However, the duo of Dekkinga and Youel then lost in the final match to Bowling Green’s Mandy Eccleston and Nikki Chiricosta 8-4.

After a day of letdowns and defeats, the Huskies came back on Saturday ready to play and ready to win.

“Today went a lot better,” said Ryun Ferrell, NIU women’s tennis head coach. “We came out and played like we belonged and we played with a purpose.”

The Huskies consist of six underclassmen and only two seniors, giving their opponents a greater advantage of experience. But the Huskies earned their spot by coming out of the tournament with a total of six wins.

“As a team, we have set goals,” Youel said. “One of them is to get out of the bottom of the MAC.”

Youel went on to defeat Toledo’s Alexandra Cristello, 6-4, 6-4, as well as Boulieris of Ball State, 6-2, 6-1. Also, Youle and Dekkinga competed again in Flight B Doubles and defeated Mariya Toncheva and Daphne Friedrichs of Eastern Michigan, 8-4.

NIU’s Arantza De La Torre also contributed to the Huskies’ success by defeating Western Michigan’s Caroline Aleck 6-2, 6-3.

“We have a young team, so this is a huge learning process for them,” Ferrell said. “The rest of the season from here on out will go very quickly.”