Photo: Taylor Soule
Heading into this weekend’s action with an eight-match winning streak, Drake had great momentum and a three-match home series. With Montana, Upper Iowa and Kansas coming to town, it wasn’t going to be easy to make it an 11-match winning streak.
Montana was first on the schedule with the match starting last Friday at 3 p.m. It wasn’t easy to push the winning streak to nine matches, but the Bulldogs battled adversity to get it done. The Bulldogs needed close doubles wins from senior Amanda Aragon and freshman Nell Boyd, and from senior Jessica Aguilera and sophomore Klavdija Rebol. Boyd and Aragon weren’t as victorious in the singles competitions, dropping two sets to draw the match to 3-2. Junior Ali Patterson was able to bring the Bulldogs back to life, winning a 6-1, 5-7, 6-2 match to give the Bulldogs its ninth straight victory.
“They’re a good team, but we played great. We all stepped up,” Aguilera said.
Next on the schedule was Upper Iowa last Saturday. It was the first of the Bulldogs two matches on the day. The match wasn’t as nerve-wracking as Montana, with the Bulldogs able to manage a 7-0 triumph. The win moved the streak to 10 straight match win, and gave the Bulldogs momentum before the 5-0 Jayhawks came to town.
The match with Kansas started at 5 p.m. on Saturday just hours after Drake defeated Upper Iowa. The wheels quickly fell off the 10-match win streak, with the Bulldogs suffering a misleading 6-1 loss.
“They’re really, really solid. They are very competitive and athletic,” Boyd said. “It was just a matter of a few points. They were all really close.”
The Bulldogs played several close matches and deserved better luck than a 6-1 defeat.
“Manca (Krizman) played incredible. All of our matches were really close. We had opportunities, but we lost,” Aguilera said. “Losing in doubles was the key. We lost 9-7 in court two and that was the key.”
The loss was Drake’s first since Jan. 21. With the doubles victory with partner junior Manca Krizman, senior Gabby Demos moved past Veronika Leszayoza for most combined wins at Drake since 2006-07 with 120.
Despite the loss, the Bulldogs are still having a fantastic spring season, boasting an 11-2 record. Drake now gets a little break before they are back in action on March 9 at the Roger Knapp Tennis Center against in-state rival Iowa State.
“We have a two-week break. We’re going to work on conditioning and on some other things,” Aguilera said.