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Sports Tennis

Bulldogs promising in first tournament of the year

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The women’s tennis squad began its 2011 campaign with mixed results at the Drake Fall Invitational last weekend at the Roger Knapp Tennis Center.

“We had our ups and downs. We played hard but not very consistent,” head coach Paul Thomson said. “We saw some good things to work on for the next tournament. I was happy with the effort.”

The three-day tournament featured seven teams: Creighton, Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Nebraska, Nebraska-Omaha, Northern Iowa, Wichita State and Drake.

On Friday, the Bulldogs posted a 4-4 mark in doubles play.

In the “A” flight, senior Gabby Demos and junior Manca Krizman won their first two matches. The duo defeated Mary McMullan and Kelsey Schmidt from Creighton 8-5 and also defeated Krissy Lankelma and Chelsea Moore from Northern Iowa 8-6.

However, Krizman and Demos lost 8-2 in the semifinals against Christina Colarossi and Maddy Soule from UW-Milwaukee.

Also in the “A” flight, seniors Jessica Aguilera and Earylnn Lauer suffered defeats in both of their matches.

In the “B” flight, senior Amanda Aragon and freshman Nell Boyd earned a spot in the title match. After defeating Cassandra Dix and Stefannia Sampaio from Northern Iowa 8-4, and also defeating Analese Snyder and Elizabeth Vermillion from Creighton 8-6, the duo fell 8-5 in the title match against Valerie Brockman and Lucia Kovalova from Wichita State.

Thomson was impressed by Boyd’s performance throughout the tournament.

“Nell (Boyd) performed very well for her first tournament,” Thomson said. “She played a couple of tough opponents. She’s going to help us out this year.”

On Saturday, singles play got underway at the Drake Fall Invitational. The Bulldogs registered six singles victories on the day.

In the “A” draw, Krizman and Demos both won their opening matches before losing in the second round.

In the “B” draw, Aguilera and Boyd each notched a victory each before being eliminated.

Junior Ali Patterson and Lauer also earned a victory each in the “C” draw before bowing out. Freshman Amanda Dick lost in her first match of the “D” draw.

“Amanda (Dick) played hard. You can tell she wants to win,” Thomson said. “She had some good things and some things to improve on. With the experience she’ll get better understanding.”

By Sunday, no Bulldog was in contention to compete for a title. However, the Bulldogs registered four more singles victories.

Krizman defeated Kelly Fritz from UW-Milwaukee in straight sets, 6-1, 6-2, in the “A” draw. Demos lost a close match against Jennie Hartjes from Creighton, 1-6, 7-6, 4-6.

In the “B” draw, Boyd closed off the tournament with another strong performance by defeating Creighton’s Snyder, 6-4, 6-7, 6-2.

“Nell (Boyd) had a good tournament,” Aguilera said. “She’s been a great addition to the team. She’s showing really good tennis.”

Also in the “B” draw, Aguilera rallied from a dismal first set to win the match, 0-6, 7-5,  6-2.

“The match started very fast. In the second set I started figuring out how to play her,” Aguilera said. “I started winning games and then I realized I could win.”

Aragon also earned a victory in the “C” draw after she defeated Creighton’s Vermilion, 7-5, 6-1. Lauer struggled in her match, as she fell to Northern Iowa’s Sampaio, 0-6, 0-6.

In the “D” draw, Dick lost against Brittany Skemp from UW-Milwaukee, 0-6, 0-6.

Aguilera believes the experience of the first tournament of the season will help the team in their upcoming tournament in Cedar Falls.

“The results of the team weren’t great,” Aguilera said. “It was the first tournament of the season. It was a good start to get in shape and be ready for the next tournament.”

The Bulldogs will take a short break before returning to action on Sept. 23 to compete in the Northern Iowa Fall Invitational.

“I try not to put any expectations this early on the season,” Thomson said. “Only to improve.”

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