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Sports Tennis

Men sweep WIU, women come back to edge Air Force

Photo: Connor McCourtney

MEN

Drake extended its home winning streak to eight games this past Sunday with a 7-0 victory over the Western Illinois Leathernecks. The Bulldogs are now 8-2 on the season, and the team looks to have completely rebounded from its two losses against Big Ten foes late last month.

The match against the Leathernecks was never in jeopardy for the Bulldogs, as they started the match by sweeping the doubles point. Each doubles team won 8-4 over Western Illinois.

Senior Mauricio Ballivian and sophomore Anis Ghorbel teamed up at the top slot, with sophomores James McKie and Jean Erasmus at the second position, and sophomore Ryan Drake and freshman Robin Goodman at the third spot.

The singles matches played out just like the doubles, with complete Bulldog domination. Drake clinched the match in under an hour, as Goodman, McKie, Ghorbel and junior Jonathan Hadash were able to make quick work of their opponents.

Goodman was the first off the court with a 6-1, 6-0 victory at the fourth position. McKie soon followed with an equally impressive 6-1, 6-2 triumph at second singles. Hadash granted the Bulldogs the victory with a 6-0, 6-2 win at the fifth position.

Ghorbel followed Hadash soon after with a 6-0, 6-3 victory at No. 3 singles. Ghorbel’s play over the past weekend garnered him Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Week accolades on Tuesday.

The closest matches for the team came at first and sixth singles, but both resulted in straight-set victories for the Bulldogs. At sixth singles, junior Sean O’Grady encountered a three-game deficit in the first set before fighting back to take the match 6-4, 6-1.

Ballivian encountered some resistance from the 2010 Summit League Newcomer of the Year, Jeff Cote. After taking the first set 6-2, Ballivian was taken to a tiebreaker by Cote, but once again, Ballivian prevailed in the tiebreaker 7-3.

The Bulldogs will take on the Saint Louis Billikens tomorrow in the first match of their four-game Spring Break road trip. Drake will also go up against the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Memphis and Murray State, and The Times-Delphic will have a full report on the results after the break.

WOMEN

Drake bounced back from a tough loss against Iowa State last Friday with an impressive come-from-behind win over Air Force on Sunday. Air Force entered into the matchup with an 11-3 record, with one of its three losses also delivered by Iowa State.

The opening doubles matches echoed the match against the Cyclones, in which the Bulldogs were unable to find a way to victory at any of the positions.

Junior Jess Aguilera and sophomore Manca Krizman lost 8-2 at the top slot, and junior Amanda Aragon and senior Jessica Labarte lost 8-5 at third doubles.

Once again, junior Earlynn Lauer and freshman Klavdija Rebol came the closest to victory for the Bulldogs, as the second doubles team clawed its way to six wins, but Air Force would not let them finish the job, as the Drake duo lost 8-6.

Determined not to see a repeat of last Friday’s outcome, the Bulldogs played tremendously at singles. Krizman was able to quickly even the score for the Bulldogs with a 6-1, 6-0 dismantling of her opponent at the top slot.

The Bulldogs then took the lead as Rebol registered a 6-2, 7-5 win at second singles. Air Force landed the next two hits though, as Labarte and Aragon lost in straight sets at fourth and fifth singles, respectively.

Down by one, the Bulldogs were just a set away from their second straight loss, but Aguilera was determined to keep the team alive. With a decisive third set victory, Aguilera won her match at third singles 6-1, 3-6, 6-1 to even the score at three points apiece.

The outcome hung in the balance at the sixth singles position, as sophomore Ali Patterson was taken to a second set tiebreaker by her opponent. Patterson was the player who raised her game in the end, as she won 7-3 to give the Bulldogs one of their best results of the season.

Drake will be busy over the next week, as the squad is scheduled for six matches over spring break. The first match is against Minnesota tomorrow morning. The Times-Delphic will have the results of the Bulldogs’ Spring Break trip in the next issue.

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