March 28, 2014
ROCKFORD, Ill. - Friday afternoon at the Boylan Tennis Center, NIU earned its sixth victory of the season against Akron (10-10, 0-2 MAC). The Huskies took down the Zips in a tight battle, 4-3. The win improves NIU's record to 6-7 with a 1-2 conference record.
"It was a solid day," said Head Coach Ryun Ferrell. "We played very ugly, but we'll take it. Sometimes, you keep getting the ball back and hope some things break your way, and that happened today."
From the start of doubles play, it was clear this was going to be a tightly contested affair. Haley Dekkinga and Stephanie McDonald took the No. 3 match against Ksenia Berestetska and Caroline Harpaintner, 8-4. To seal the point, the Huskies looked to Nelle Youel and Arantza De La Torre in the No. 1. The tandem had to grind out a tough match against Olga Shkundina and Shannon Newnes, eventually claiming an 8-7 win. It wasn't easy, but the Huskies headed into singles with a 1-0 lead.
In singles play, Youel did her usual thing. She picked up a victory in the No. 1 against Shkundina, 6-1, 6-0. The rest of the Huskies had been struggling to get victories in singles play as of late. During NIU's three previous matches, Youel was the only winner. That wasn't the case against the Zips, as two others stepped up to get the 4-3 win for the Huskies.
In the No. 2, Cristina Alvarez bested Martinea Zerbola, 6-3, 6-0. It came down to McDonald in the No. 6 to clinch the victory for her team. In the No. 6, she faced Harpaintner, and the two had a tough back-and-forth match. McDonald would outlast the Zip, taking a 6-1, 1-6, 6-3 final.
"This was a tough match," added Ferrell. "And tough tennis trumps all this late in the year."
The Huskies will get back it tomorrow against the Buffalo Bulls. At 4:00 p.m. they'll play at Boylan Tennis Center in Rockford, Ill. in search of their second conference victory.
NIU 4, Akron 3
1. Nelle Youel (NIU) def. Olga Shkundina (Akron) 6-1, 6-0
2. Cristina Alvarez (NIU) def. Martina Zerbola (Akron) 6-3, 6-0
3. Karolina Maksimava (Akron) def. Haley Dekkinga (NIU) 2-6, 7-6, 6-2
4. Shannon Newnes (Akron) def. Arantza De La Torre (NIU) 6-2, 6-0
5. Ksenia Berestetska (Akron) def. Mary Malkin (NIU) 6-1, 6-0
6. Stephanie McDonald (NIU) def. Caroline Harpaintner (Akron) 6-1, 1-6, 6-3
1. Youel/de la Torre (NIU) def. Shkundina/Newnes (Akron) 8-7
2. Zerbola/Maksimava (Akron) def. Rozo/Malkin (NIU) Forfeit
3. Dekkinga/McDonald (NIU) def. Berestetska/Harpaintner (Akron) 8-4