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Drake holds off Evansville for second MVC win

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Drake unleashed some of its most impressive play of the season last Saturday to defeat the Evansville Purple Aces 5-2. The win puts the Bulldogs at 11-8 on the season and 2-2 in Missouri Valley Conference play.

The Bulldogs put on their finest doubles performance of the season to start the match with a bang. Drake was dominant at all positions from the first point, and it was junior Amanda Aragon and senior Jessica Labarte who led the charge with an almost perfect 8-1 win at No. 3 doubles.

Sophomore Ali Patterson and freshman Klavdija Rebol granted Drake the doubles point with their 8-4 victory. The duo played extremely well despite having played with different partners for much of the year. The familiar pairing of junior Gabby Demos and sophomore Manca Krizman made sure the Bulldogs went into singles play riding a huge wave of momentum, as they won 8-4 at the top doubles slot.

“Doubles was really good,” Krizman said. “Probably the best we played this season, and all three spots were just on fire.”

Aguilera carried the momentum into singles for the Bulldogs and gave them an early 2-0 lead with a dominant 6-2, 6-3 win. The Purple Aces were not ready to give in, though, as it was Evansville who registered the next blow with Krizman falling 2-6, 4-6 at the top singles spot.

“She just didn’t miss much, and I didn’t take my chances so that was the difference,” Krizman said.

Demos retaliated to give the Bulldogs a 3-1 advantage. The junior registered a routine 6-2, 6-2 victory and Drake moved to within one match of clinching the victory. Once again, the Purple Aces weren’t ready to give in and they defeated junior Earlynn Lauer 6-2, 6-2.

The Bulldogs clinched the win off the racquet of Aragon at fifth singles, but not before the Drake junior battled back from a three-game deficit in the second set. Aragon had just barely won the first set 8-6 in a tiebreaker, and it looked like defeat was a possibility before she rallied off five-straight games to win the match 7-6, 6-4.

Rebol was close to getting a straight-set victory with a 6-5 lead in the second set, but she dropped the set in a tiebreaker. Drake’s only freshman eventually came through at the third singles position in the third-set super tiebreaker 10-8 to give the Bulldogs the 5-2 result.

“We were all really pumped up after winning the doubles pretty handily, and we lost to them 6-1 last year, so I think we all just really wanted to prove something,” Patterson said.

The Bulldogs hoped to continue their revival on Sunday, as they played the Southern Illinois Salukis. Last season Drake lost to the Salukis 5-2 in conference play.

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