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Sports Tennis

Bulldogs drop heartbreaker in MVC quarterfinals

Photo: Connor McCourtney

With the end of another school year comes the end of another women’s tennis season.  Drake had a successful season with an overall record of 13-10 and a Missouri Valley Conference record of 4-3.

The team wrapped up its season on April 29, at the State Farm MVC Championship in St. Louis. The Bulldogs faced the Illinois State Redbirds in the quarterfinals, but were unable to pull through in the end for the win.

“It wasn’t really what we were expecting,” junior Jessica Aguilera said. “We were expecting to win.”

The Bulldogs won matches at the No. 1 and No. 3 positions to earn the doubles point. Junior Gabby Demos and sophomore Manca Krizman pulled through to beat Aniko Kiss and Phyllis Tigges of Illinois State 8-4 to decide the doubles round.

“We did a really good job playing doubles, so I think that was very good that day,” Krizman said.

Illinois State came back during singles play, winning the first two singles tilts to take a 2-1 lead.

The meet continued to go back and forth as matches carried on. The Redbirds took back a lead of 3-2, but Drake freshman Klavdija Rebol came away with a 7-6, 3-2 decision match at the No. 3 slot, pushing the meet to a winner-take-all scenario at the fourth position.

Aguilera pushed the Bulldogs close to victory by winning her first set and held the lead at 5-3 in the second frame. The Redbirds were able to come back in the end of the match, winning the second set and final frame to take the win with a final score of 4-3.

“Illinois State came out a little tougher in singles than we expected, and we just kind of fell flat,” Demos said.

Krizman agreed with her doubles teammate.

“I don’t think they were necessarily better,” Krizman said. “They just found a better way to win that day.”

Despite the upsetting and unexpected loss, Aguilera finds it important to stay positive and continue looking forward.

“We had a good win, and we had a winning season so we have to look at the positives,” she said.

Next year, the team will lose graduating senior Jessica Labarte, but will have four new seniors leading the team. Following a successful season in which the women grew closer as a team and adjusted to a new head coach, the team is looking forward to an even better season next year.

“We came together as a team this season, and everyone was always really excited to get on the court,” Demos said. “Personally, I feel like next season we’re going to be the team with the most potential out of all the years I’ve been here. I’m very hopeful and excited for next year.”


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