DeKALB — NIU didn’t leave the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Midwest Regionals in East Lansing, Michigan with any titles Monday, but it did pull off a major upset in doubles competition.
Juniors Lara Slisko and Maria Potsi upset the Notre Dame duo of junior Ally Bojczuk and sophomore Zoe Taylor in the first round of the doubles draw, outlasting the Fighting Irish in an 8-7 tiebreaker game.
Head Coach Eric Burns said the win over a high-profile program like Notre Dame will help build NIU into a consistently competitive program.
"Lara and Maria's win over Notre Dame was huge for our program and an unbelievable effort," Burns said in an NIU athletics press release Monday. "Wins like those are special and something we can really build on as a team going forward this season."
Slisko and Potsi were eliminated in the second round against the Michigan State University duo of sophomore Nicole Stephens and senior Samantha Memije. However, the Huskies picked up a consolation win over Marquette.
In singles competition, sophomore Christy Robinson advanced to the second round of the qualifying singles draw with a three-set victory over Youngstown State University sophomore Elvira Esteo. Robinson would be eliminated in the second round in back to back 6-4 sets by University of Akron junior Anna Uljanov.
Sophomore Frenanda Naves failed to win in the singles competition, before teaming up with Robinson in the doubles draw. Naves and Robinson fell to a DuPaul University team in the opening round, before losing in their consultation game against Michigan State.
While the Huskies didn’t pick up a ton of victories, Burns said the team got to face good competition ahead of future meetings with Mid-American Conference teams.
"This tournament was a valuable experience for the team and we definitely saw we [can] compete with anyone on any given day,” Burns said. “We saw improvement in our doubles play especially and this will be important for us going forward."
NIU returns to action Saturday and Sunday, when it takes part in the Redbird Invitational hosted by Illinois State University in Normal.