June 2, 2009
DEKALB, Ill. -
Northern Illinois head women's tennis coach Ryun Ferrell entered the third season of his tenure as the Huskies' mentor in 2009, with a full lineup for the first time since taking over the program. While NIU found itself in the 8 vs. 9 matchup in the first-round Mid-American Conference Tournament, it was still a season of significant improvement.
That improvement started with two talented freshmen, who will be cornerstones of the NIU women's tennis program for the next three seasons. Emily Rogers, a native of Rochester, Minn., was named the Huskies' most valuable player after just one season in the program. She racked up a team-high 17 combined singles wins, spending time at both the No. 4 and No. 5 flights.
Rogers won six-of her first eight collegiate singles matches, and went 6-2 in MAC contests. She also teamed with four different doubles partners, and posted 15 wins in doubles action. Rogers' classmate, freshman Sara McLaughlin, played 16 dual matches at the No. 6 singles position. She finished the season strong, winning three-of her final four singles matches, including a straight-set win over Ball State in the first-round of the MAC Tournament, a 4-3 victory for the Huskies that vaulted them into the MAC Quarterfinals.
Northern Illinois went 4-2 against in-state non-conference foes, posting dual-match victories over Eastern Illinois, SIU-Edwardsville, Bradley and Western Illinois. After recording a 4-3 win over host Ball State on March 20, NIU faced the task of defeating the Cardinals twice in the same season, when the two teams squared off in the opening round of the MAC Tournament.
But this time, it didn't come as easy. NIU fell behind 3-0, as Ball State claimed the doubles point with regulation pro-set wins at both the No. 1 and No. 3 positions. To start out singles play, Ball State's Hanna Oman (No. 5) and Dena Boulieris (No. 2) recorded respective wins to put the pressure on the Huskies.
McLaughlin, playing sixth singles for the Huskies, answered with a 6-4, 7-5 win, followed by a straight-set (6-2, 6-3) victory by Rogers at No. 4 singles. Lilian Asuaje
knotted the match at 3-3 by outlasting the Cardinals' Sarah Hebble (6-4, 3-6, 6-0) at the top singles position. NIU's No. 3 singles player, Martina Schnapp
, sealed the victory for the Huskies with a 6-4, 6-7 (7-1), 6-2 win over Ball State's Kylee Johnson. Schnapp broke Johnson's serve twice in the final frame with the match on the line.
NIU saw its 2009 season end in the quarterfinals of the MAC Championships, dropping a 4-0 decision versus regular season champion and top-seeded Miami (Ohio) at the Keefe Tennis Courts in Bowling Green, Ohio. The Huskies advanced to the MAC quarterfinals for the second-consecutive season, and ended their season with seven wins (7-16, 1-8 MAC), two more than its entire win total from the 2007-08 campaign.