April 28, 2010
DEKALB, Ill. - The ninth-seeded Northern Illinois women's tennis team will look to advance to the quarterfinals of the Mid-American Conference Championships for the third-consecutive year, when the Huskies take on No. 8 Ball State in the opening round of the tournament Thursday at the Sorensen Courts in Kalamazoo, Mich. The contest, a rematch of last year's first round tilt, starts at noon.
The Huskies (7-12, 1-7 MAC) will return to Kalamazoo just 12 days after concluding their regular season with a 7-0 loss at the hands of Western Michigan on April 17.
"The key for us tomorrow is keeping the ball in play and making Ball State earn it, said head coach Ryun Ferrell. "We have had a lot of time to rest since our last match and we are ready to fight Thursday. In this conference, you can get beat by anybody and you have to want it more. We have been working hard all season and we need to outwork them tomorrow."
NIU, who improved upon a six-win regular season in 2009, will look to repeat last season's first round success. Singles wins from sophomore Sara McLaughlin, Emily Rogers and Martina Schnapp helped NIU overcome a 3-0 deficit to defeat Ball State, 4-3, on April 23, 2009 in Bowling Green, Ohio.
Earlier this season, the Huskies received singles victories from freshman Brittni Fausett and Rogers, but ultimately fell at home to Ball State, 5-2, at the Forest City Tennis Center in Rockford. Fausett dominated in a 6-0, 6-2 decision over Dena Boulieris at the No. 3 position, and Rogers won a third-set tiebreaker (10-6) to capture the No. 2 flight over Georgina Thomson.
The No. 2 doubles duo of junior Kathryn Friedlund and McLaughlin, who lead all Huskie duos with eight wins, also posted a hard-fought 10-8 win over the Cardinals' Boulieris and Thomson.
Ball State, who is 7-14 overall and 1-7 in MAC play, has dropped four straight matches in league play, and eight-of-nine contests overall. The Cardinals' No. 1 doubles team of sophomore Kylee Johnson and junior Katherine Rist have paced Ball State in both singles and doubles action during the 2010 campaign. Johnson and Rist, who have both collected a team-high 10 singles victories, lead the Cardinals with seven doubles wins and a 2-4 MAC record this season.
If the Huskies advance to the quarterfinals, they will face top-seeded Miami (Ohio) Friday at 9 a.m. Schnapp recorded the Huskies' lone singles win in the RedHawks' 6-1 win over NIU in Rockford on April 3.