Photo: Connor McCourtney
No. 71 Drake extended its winning streak to seven matches with a 7-0 win over the Creighton Bluejays last Saturday afternoon. The Bulldogs are now 13-2 on the season.
The Bulldogs started the match with a bang by clinching the opening doubles point off the strength of first and second doubles. Drake’s top duo, senior Mauricio Ballivian and sophomore Anis Ghorbel, proved its No. 72 national ranking in doubles with an 8-3 win. Sophomores James McKie and Jean Erasmus put up an equally impressive 8-3 victory at the second doubles position. The Bulldogs failed to completely sweep the doubles matches though, as sophomore Ryan Drake and junior Cesar Bracho lost at the third slot 6-8.
Singles play was just as successful for Drake, as the Bulldogs captured five of the six singles matches in straight sets. Ballivian paced the squad with a perfect 6-0, 6-0 win at the top spot. McKie won 6-1, 7-5 at the second position while his doubles partner, Erasmus, dominated with a 6-0, 6-1 win.
Last week’s Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Week, Ghorbel, won 7-5, 6-3. Bracho, in just his second match after returning from injury, posted a 6-0, 6-1 victory. Ryan Drake made it a clean sweep for the Bulldogs with a 6-2, 2-6, 10-5 win at the sixth and final slot.
“I felt like we came out with a lot of energy and focus,” Erasmus said. “We all knew the importance of starting the conference with confidence and showing everyone that we are in top shape.”
The Bulldogs will take a short hiatus from conference play as they take on Western Michigan and Northern Illinois this weekend in Rockford, Ill. Drake will return home to the Roger Knapp Tennis Center on April 9 and 10 to battle Bradley and Illinois State, respectively.
Overall, the team is doing outstanding and all the hard work we put in every practice is paying off,” Bracho added. “We need to take the win and stay focused on the rest of the games, as conference play just started.”
The Drake women’s tennis team dismantled the University of Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks last Wednesday at the Roger Knapp Tennis Center. The Bulldogs were simply too talented at both doubles and singles en route to a 7-0 victory.
The Bulldogs once again captured the doubles point to take a 1-0 lead, this time with quick wins at all positions. Juniors Jess Aguilera and Amanda Aragon were the first off the court with an 8-0 victory. They were soon followed by junior Earlynn Lauer and freshman Klavdija Rebol, who won 8-2. Junior Gabby Demos and sophomore Manca Krizman made it a clean sweep with an 8-4 victory.
Drake proved to be just as dominant in singles as they were in doubles, as five of the six matches were decided in straight sets with the Mavericks barely getting on the scoreboard. Aragon started the Bulldogs off with a hasty 6-1, 6-0 win at the fifth position. Aguilera soon followed at the fourth spot with a 6-0, 6-0 victory. Rebol clinched the match with a 6-0, 6-1 triumph at the third singles slot, but the Bulldogs weren’t easing up on the throttle. Demos posted yet another stunning result by beating her opponent 6-0, 6-2 at second singles.
The Mavericks captured only one set, coming at the sixth singles position against Lauer. After dropping the first set 3-6, Lauer mounted a comeback to win the next set 6-3 and then 10-8 in the super tiebreaker. Krizman closed out the dual-match for the Bulldogs with a 6-3, 6-2 win at the top spot.
Drake will open the conference season this Sunday against Northern Iowa. The match begins at 1 p.m. in Cedar Falls. The Bulldogs return home on April 9 to take on Illinois State in a 1 p.m. tilt at the Roger Knapp Tennis Center.