Story by Austin Cannon
The Drake women’s tennis team took a rare trip outside of the Midwest last week, visiting Brown and Boston universities.
The Bulldogs beat Brown, 4-3, on Thursday and fell to the Boston Terriers on Saturday, 6-1.
Drake was scheduled to play Rhode Island on Wednesday, but unplayable weather conditions canceled the match.
With the score tied 3-3 at Brown, Drake sophomore Lea Kozulic managed to outlast the Bears’ Ashley Noyes.
Kozulic battled to a 7-6 (6) win in the first set and was able to give Drake its 10th victory of the year by winning the second 6-4.
Drake jumped out to a 1-0 lead after two doubles victories.
Junior Nell Boyd and sophomore Jordan Eggleston defeated Nikita Uberhol and Sarah Kandath, 8-2.
Sophomore Maddie Johnson and senior Klavdija Rebol clinched the doubles point, beating Noyes and Ammu Mandalap, 8-4.
After the setback in doubles, the Bears were able to recover and win the first two singles matches.
Dayna Lord bested Rebol on court No. 1, 6-2, 7-6. Mariel Ante was unable to threaten Hannah Camhi and lost, 6-3, 6-2, at No. 2.
Johnson managed to even the match at 2-2. She took down Uberhol, 6-2, 6-4.
The victory improved her spring record to 10-1.
Boyd followed, beating Kandath in the lone three-set contest of the match.
After a 6-4 setback in the first, Boyd was able to overcome Kandath in the final two sets, 6-1, 6-4.
Drake was now up 3-2.
However, Mandalap was able to level it once again by finishing off Eggleston, 6-1, 7-6 (8), setting up the winner-take-all match on No. 6.
It was the first-ever win for Drake over an Ivy League school.
On Saturday, the Bulldogs suffered their first road defeat of the year to the Boston University Terriers.
The Bulldogs found themselves playing on a new surface.
“They didn’t have real tennis courts,” Boyd said. “It was like a track, so it was really hard to get adjusted to that.”
It gave the Terriers a sizable advantage.
“They play on them all the time, so they just know how to move and how to play on them,” Boyd said.
Boston took the doubles point, marking only the third time this season Drake was unable to win the doubles point.
Boyd and Eggleston were able to win their match over Lauren Davis and Barbara Rodriguez, 8-2.
The pair is 8-0 in 2014 and 19-1 dating back to the 2013 fall season.
“The thing we do, I think, best is we play just like how we practice,” Boyd said. “we stay really aggressive. We stick to our patterns, get to the right spots and do everything our coach tells us. It’s so natural for us now.”
The singles portion of the match was hardfought. Three matches went to a 10-point tiebreaker, while Johnson’s match against Leonie-Charlotte Athanasiadis went to a third set.
Perhaps by the sheer power of her unpronounceable last name, Athanasiadis took the first set, 6-1. Johnson was able to take the second 6-4, but fell to the three-named Terrier in the third, 6-2.
Eggleston notched the lone win for Drake on court No. 5, again beating Rodriguez. After falling 6-3 in the first set, Eggleston came back and won the second set 6-2.
On court No. 2, Ante split two sets with Davis, 6-4, 4-6, but was unable to take the tiebreak and fell 10-6.
Kozulic was just barely unable to repeat her Thursday heroics against Kim McCallum.
After falling 7-6 (4) in a hotly-contested first set, Kozulic forced a tiebreak by winning the second set, 6-4.
She came up just short in the tiebreak, losing 11-9.
Drake hosts Upper Iowa and UNI on Sunday.
The UNI match will mark the beginning of the conference season.