Photos: Taylor Soule
The Bulldogs will have to wait a little bit longer to earn their 20th win of the season.
Playing on the road at Southern Illinois, Drake’s quest for its 20th victory of the year fell short in a 4-3 defeat on Saturday.
The difference in the match proved to be the doubles point captured by the Salukis. Jennifer Dien and Natasha Tomishima earned a closely-contested 9-7 win in the No. 2 slot over senior Jessica Aguilera and sophomore Klavidja Rebol to give SIU the decisive advantage.
“They were just really excited. Every match was really close and we couldn’t pull it out,” said freshman Nell Boyd.
The Bulldogs suffered their first conference defeat of the season. Drake is 3-1 in the Missouri Valley Conference and 19-5 overall.
Both squads went even in the singles slot, with each team earning three points.
Rebol tied the match at 1-1 after taking down Dien in the No. 2 hole, 6-0, 6-1. Drake then took a 2-1 lead after junior Ali Patterson defeated Gisela Cairo Baza 6-2, 6-2 in the No. 6 slot.
Vying for her 26th consecutive singles victory in the No.1 hole, Krizman came up short in a loss to Melanie Delsart. Krizman lost both sets 7-5 as the Salukis evened the match at 2-2.
Southern Illinois garnered victories in the No. 4 and No. 5 slots to earn the win after defeating Boyd and Aguilera.
“We were playing at their home court and they had a bunch of fans. We tried to be as pumped up as they were,” Boyd said. “It was really windy, it was hard to play and it wasn’t steady.”
Demos rounded out the score with a 6-7, 6-4, 2-1 victory over Anita Lee in the No. 2 hole to finalize the tally at 4-3 in favor of SIU. Lee left the match in the third set.
“It wasn’t what we expected. We had opportunities in doubles and we lost the point,” Aguilera said. “It was really disappointing because we were doing really well.”
The Bulldogs are heading into the final stretch of their season. Boyd talked about the importance of improving their doubles play going forward.
“We still need to improve our doubles game, that’s the main thing. I think we can beat any team with our singles play right now,” Boyd said.
On Sunday, Drake took on Evansville. The game was moved from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. due to weather conditions. Results on this match can be found in the next issue of The Times-Delphic.