Women’s tennis victorious in 3 of 4 on weekend tour

The Huskies now hold a 11-5 season record.


Summer Fitzgerald

Sophomore Diana Lukyanova and freshman Reagan Welch high-five during a tennis match.

By Skyler Kisellus, Sports Reporter

The NIU women’s tennis team earned three victories over a four-game stretch this weekend. The Huskies dropped their first match Friday before proceeding to a three-game win streak ahead of their first matchup against Mid-American Conference opponents.

How it happened

Friday Match #1: Coyotes 4, Huskies 3

The Huskies opened weekend competition at noon Friday, hosting the South Dakota Coyotes at Chick Evans Field House in DeKalb. The Coyotes took advantage early with two straight wins in doubles play, securing the doubles point before the third match could conclude.

NIU and USD each earned three wins during the following singles rounds. Senior Christy Robinson and sophomore Diana Lukyanova each defeated their foes in straight sets.

NIU’s third singles victory came as sophomore Anastasia Rakita’s duel with USD redshirt junior Estella Jaeger went to a third set. Rakita capitalized in the final set to secure a come-from-behind victory, 3-6, 6-2, 6-3.

South Dakota’s trio of singles victories, compounded with their doubles point earlier in the afternoon, gave them the 4-3 victory at NIU’s home court.

Friday Match #2: Huskies 7, Warhawks 0

Following their loss earlier in the day, the Huskies used their following match against the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater to turn matters around. NIU shot off to an early lead after sweeping all three matchups in doubles play.

Singles play proved to be favorable for the Huskies as every NIU competitor won their respective singles matchups in straight sets. The 7-0 victory allowed NIU to end Friday’s competition with a 1-1 record on the day.

Sunday Match #1: Huskies 7, Cougars 0

NIU’s first matchup of the Sunday had them travel to Chicago to challenge the Chicago State University Cougars. The Huskies struck early in doubles competition, winning the first two matches 6-1 and 6-2 respectively.

With the doubles point in hand, the visiting Huskies made quick work of Chicago State’s singles lineup. NIU won each of their singles matchups against the Cougars in similar fashion to their previous matchup against Wisconsin-Whitewater. 

Lukyanova competed in the most hard-fought singles bout of the match, taking CSU senior Kristina Pukhaeva to three sets and winning 7-6, 2-6, 10-4.

The Huskies finished their battle with the Cougars with a final score of 7-0, their second consecutive shutout of the weekend.

Sunday Match #2: Huskies 4, Crusaders 3

The Huskies’ road stretch ended Sunday afternoon with a trip to Valparaiso, Indiana, to face off against the Valparaiso Crusaders. Valparaiso opened the match with the two doubles victories to secure the early 1-0 advantage.

NIU needed four wins in singles play to earn their third straight victory. The team did just that, boasting four victories in the first five singles matches to conclude. Robinson clinches the Huskies’ victory at the sixth spot after beating Crusaders senior Isabella Schoolcraft 6-4, 6-1.

Thoughts from coach Burns

On Friday’s loss to South Dakota:

“It was a tough loss to South Dakota, that was a really tough match,” head coach Eric Burns said in an NIU Athletics news release. “There for a while, it looked like we had a chance to pull it out, and they turned a match or two around late and got it done.”

On triumphant win over Wisconsin-Whitewater:

“They definitely pushed us on some courts which was good,” Burns said. “They gave us a good match and that’s what we’re looking for – to play a solid match after a tough 4-3 loss.”

On significance of Sunday’s win:

“This weekend was a positive way to transition into conference play,” Burns said. “Now we get a well-deserved break where we can get a little rest with a weekend off to recharge and get focused in on MAC play.”

The end result

NIU’s 3-1 record over the weekend sends their record to 11-5 overall on the season. The Huskies are currently on a three-game win streak as they prepare to begin Mid-American Conference play.

Looking ahead

MAC competition begins March 20 for the Huskies as they are set to engage with the Bowling Green State University Falcons at Boylan Tennis Center at 1 p.m. in Rockford.