STORY BY ADAM ROGAN
The Drake Women’s Tennis team had a rough weekend, falling to Minnesota on Friday and then to Dartmouth on Saturday, both matches ending 2-5.
Minnesota was ranked 70th in the nation going into their match against the Bulldogs. Dartmouth was ranked 46th.
“Even though we lost, it was against very tough teams,” freshman Summer Brills said.
Minnesota took the doubles point in two matches before moving on to the singles matches.
Junior Mariel Ante took the first singles point of the match for the Bulldogs. She fell in the first set in a tiebreaker, but came back with a 6-4 second set victory and sealed the deal with a 10-5 win in the third set.
However, Ante’s efforts came too late as Tess Herder, Jordan Eggleston and Adrienne Jensen had already fallen in straight sets.
Senior and team captain Nell Boyd took the second Bulldogs point in the final match of the day, dispatching Maja Vujic 3-6, 6-2, 6-3.
Minnesota was also the first team to defeat Boyd and Maddie Johnson in doubles all season, their record falling to 4-1 in duals.
“I think it was a little different team like the way they played was really fast. We just weren’t really executing our shots. We were there and we were doing all the right things, but we were just missing more than usual,” Boyd said.
Boyd and Johnson got back on track against Dartmouth, but the Bulldogs still could not take the doubles point.
Ante fell quickly in the one position 6-0, 6-0 to Taylor Ng, ranked 82 in the nation.
Brills got the Bulldogs on the scoreboard, winning 6-4, 6-3 and improved to 6-1 on the season.
“We just need to keep working on being aggressive,” Brills said. “I was really happy with my win this weekend. That really bumped my confidence.”
Fellow freshman Jensen picked up the second Bulldog point of the day, but it wasn’t enough to take down Dartmouth.
Even with the losses, Pervez is proud of how far the team has come in the last two years.
“Last year (on Feb. 23) was the first big win for this program in 10 years. We beat Wisconsin. So, we’re so ahead of our season compared to last year because of scheduling,” Pervez said. “We haven’t peaked yet.”
The players say the benefits of playing against stronger programs like Minnesota and Dartmouth, even if they didn’t come away with the wins.
“It was just kind of a good experience to play against these tough teams,” Boyd said.
“We’ve never played ranked teams before in dual matches, so it’s our first experience kind of with this high of competition,” Johnson added. “I think individually it teaches you things you need to work on in your game because better opponents can expose your weaknesses more.”
Two of the Bulldogs’ three losses this season have come against undefeated opponents, and the third came against top-100 Minnesota.