Throughout the fall season, the Drake women’s tennis team has stressed that they must improve on doubles to be a threat in the Missouri Valley Conference, and at the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Central Regional tournament last weekend in Fayetteville, Ark., they showed much improvement in the main draw of doubles.
Drake had two doubles squads bypass the qualifying draw, as sophomore Manca Krizman teamed up with junior Gabby Demos, and junior Amanda Aragon worked with senior Jessica Labarte to post wins.
Krizman and Demos destroyed Missouri Valley Conference rival Bradley’s team of Nicole Miller and Sarah Rodefeld. The two took the set by a score of 8-1.
Aragon and Labarte posted an equally impressive result against Jenny Herring and Ceara Howey of Arkansas State by a score of 8-2.
The Bulldogs faced a difficult challenge in the second round of the doubles draw, as both teams fell to some of the region’s top teams. Krizman and Demos held a lead on the Oklahoma State duo of Nataliya Shatkovskaya and Kanyapat Narattana, but lost 9-7.
“That doubles match was heartbreaking because we were so close and had an opportunity to beat a really good team,” Demos said. “We just couldn’t close it out in the end.”
Drake’s singles play wasn’t as solid as its doubles, as Krizman was the only Bulldog in the main draw. Krizman made a first-round exit after losing in straight sets to Minnesota’s Alessandra Ferazzi.
Aguilera and Lauer did post first-round victories in the qualifying tournament though, with Aguilera defeating a Tulsa opponent and Lauer posting a straight-set victory over Western Illinois.
Demos and Labarte also recorded victories in the qualifying draw.
“I wish we could’ve had some more girls qualify for the main draw but we were up against some really good players, and just have more stuff to work on back at home,” Demos said.
The Bulldogs are looking forward to fine tuning their game for the spring season, which will kick off on Jan. 21, 2011, against Kansas State.