Despite one of the best seasons in Drake women’s tennis recent history, the Bulldogs were unable to advance past the second round of the State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Championship.
Drake easily made it out of the first round against Northern Iowa, 4-1, but it fell to Illinois State in the second round, 4-0.
This marked the fifth time in the last six seasons that the Bulldogs have been ousted in the MVC tournament by the Redbirds.
Even though the season may have ended before the ladies wanted, there are still plenty of bright spots from the entire season.
“I think the season went fabulous,” freshman Nell Boyd said. “We broke an all-time record for most wins in a season and received the second seed in the MVC tournament, which we worked very hard for.”
The season was highlighted by a streak of 10 wins in a row in the middle of the season, which started Jan. 28 against Northern Illinois and ended Feb. 25 against Kansas. The Bulldogs finished with a 22-7 record.
Boyd pointed out another personal highlight.
“The biggest highlight I think was when we beat Illinois State 6-1 because we were really looking forward to playing them and finally beating them, and we ended up beating them by five points, and that was huge,” Boyd said.
Junior Manca Krizman, sophomore Klavdija Rebol and Boyd all suffered losses on Saturday in Omaha, Neb., while senior Gabby Demos was losing when the match ended. Senior Jessica Aguilera and junior Ali Patterson of Drake were winning matches at the time, but the matches would not matter.
The squad will lose five players to graduation: Demos, Aguilera, Amanda Aragon and Earlynn Lauer. Krizman will also be graduating early and pursuing other interests. There is a bright future however, with this year’s momentum and returning players such as Boyd, Patterson, Rebol and freshman Amanda Dick.
“I think we will still be a very strong team next year,” Boyd said. “If the other returning girls and I can really get the new freshmen excited about playing tennis, I think we will be in excellent shape. The thing that makes me most sad is losing five incredible girls that I only got to have one season with, and I wish I could have had them longer because they are amazing role models.”
If next year’s new batch of players can put together team chemistry like this year’s squad, the Bulldogs will be in good shape.
“We became very close and supported each other through everything good and bad,” Boyd said. “We will always be there for each other.”