STORY BY COLTON WARREN
The Drake women’s tennis team rolled at the Missouri Valley Conference Individuals last weekend, claiming five titles on the final day of the tournament at the Roger Knapp Tennis Center.
The Bulldogs took home three singles titles and a pair of doubles titles on the day to record their highest title count in the conference tournament since 1994.
Junior Jordan Eggleston was pleased to see Drake’s success as Drake hosted the tournament for the first time since 2008.
“I think we played very well this weekend. We had some hard matches, and we did very well with battling through and staying mentally strong,” Eggleston said. “It was a great weekend for Drake tennis to walk away with five titles, especially since we haven’t had that in so long.”
For the second consecutive year, Drake took the No. 2 doubles crown after Eggleston and freshman Tess Herder outlasted Wichita State’s Giulia Guidetti and Gabriela Porubin. The Drake tandem secured the title in a back-and-forth match that needed a tiebreaker, ultimately prevailing, 8-7 (2).
“Tess and I really had to fight for every match and we definitely had some big wins, which was awesome,” Eggleston said. “What makes Tess and I great is our competitiveness and our will to fight even when we are down.”
Eggleston said their grind to get into the finals culminated with a win that tested their true talents.
“The finals match was where we really showed our talent and all of our hard work. It was amazing to walk away with a title for the second year in a row at No. 2,” Eggleston said.
The experience of senior Nell Boyd and junior Maddie Johnson proved too much for opponents to overcome in the No. 3 doubles tournament. The pair cruised to the finals before besting WSU’s Summer Schlotterback and Abby Stevens, 8-2, in the final match.
The Flight 7 singles draw proved to be all about Drake as two Bulldogs squared off in the final. In the end, freshman Adrienne Jensen topped junior Lea Kozulic, 6-2, 2-6, 6-2, to claim the title and bragging rights.
Johnson claimed a singles title to go with her doubles crown, besting Wichita’s Aleksandra Tifunovic, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 in the Flight 3 singles final.
Herder added her second title of the weekend in the Flight 6 singles draw, ousting Evansville’s Mina Milovic in the final in straight sets, 6-2, 6-0.
Eggleston made sure to commemorate a core of young talent on this year’s squad.
“(The freshman) have put so much work into their game this past month and stepped up big time this weekend, walking away with three titles and another one coming in second place at the No. 2 spot,” Eggleston said.
Eggleston attributed some of that success to the teams tight-knit friendship off the court.
“Our team has always been really close, so it’s awesome to see them blend in so well,” Eggleston said.
Boyd and junior Mariel Ante each submitted strong third-place finishes to round out the Bulldogs’ impressive weekend.
Drake will travel to Stillwater, Oklahoma on Oct. 16 for the ITA Central Regional tournament.
“Our performance this weekend really gives us a confidence booster going into the ITA Regional tournament next weekend,” Eggleston said. “I still think we have a lot to show, but we will definitely get there.”