Bulldogs show their mettle at UNI Invitational
8-2 record during day one of the Northern Iowa Fall Invitational last Friday. The ladies were a perfect 5-0 in singles matches and 3-2 in doubles.
Drake head coach Paul Thomson was pleased with the performance, but expressed a need for improvement.
“I am happy with singles play, but we need to pick it up in doubles,” Thomson said.
Not only did the girls win most of their matches, but they did it in convincing fashion as the Bulldogs advanced at least one athlete to the next round in all six brackets. Seven out of Drake’s eight wins came in straight sets.
The weather on Friday afternoon was about 50 degrees, and it was even cooler when the ladies warmed up in the morning. Playing tennis in colder weather is a challenge because athletes have to stay warm in order to perform at their best and prevent injury.
Senior Gabby Demos pushed through the chilly weather, winning against her Wisconsin-Green Bay opponent 6-4, 6-1.
“The toughest part about playing in this chilly weather is staying warm in between matches,” Demos said. “It wasn’t too windy, so it felt good when we were out there moving around, but it’s so easy to get tight and stiff sitting on the sidelines. We also need to take a little longer to warm up to really get that blood moving and our muscles loosened up.”
Sharing the taste of victory with Demos was sophomore Manca Krizman, senior Jessica Aguilera, sophomore Ali Patterson and senior Earlynn Lauer in singles. The teams of freshman Neli Boyd and senior Amanda Aragon, Aguilera and sophomore Klavdija Rebol, and Demos and Krizman were victorious in doubles.
The tennis season is a marathon rather than a sprint because it is split into two semesters. The fall season ranges from early September to October, and the spring is the main part that starts in January and ends in mid-April. That is why it is important that the team performs well early on in the season to boost morale.
“This tournament isn’t too important from a results standpoint, but very important for us to get some match experience before the conference tournament in a couple weeks,” Demos said. “We can all work on what we need to work on and get more confident playing matches.”
Next on the Bulldogs’ calendar is the State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Individuals Tournament, which also will be held in Cedar Falls and hosted by Northern Iowa. The success on UNI’s surface should translate into success at the MVC tournament.