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Sports Tennis

Drake claims four titles to open fall season

Photos: Taylor Soule

Friday provided several firsts for freshman Jordan Eggleston.

First Drake women’s tennis match. First victory over a Missouri Valley Conference opponent. First doubles win with junior captain Klavdija Rebol.

Rebol’s experience eased Eggleston’s first tournament jitters en route to an ‘A’ flight doubles title at the Drake Fall Invitational on Friday at the Roger Knapp Tennis Center. The duo beat Wichita State’s Montse Fernandez and Rebecca Pedrazzi in the final, 8-3.

“Doubles is my favorite, and having a strong doubles partner like Klavdija is a really big help,” Eggleston said. “We work well together and get along really well.”

The ‘A’ flight doubles title was only the beginning for Drake, though. The Bulldogs claimed all three doubles championships on Friday before claiming a singles title on Saturday.

In ‘B’ flight doubles action, sophomore Nell Boyd and senior captain Ali Patterson registered an 8-6 decision over their own freshmen teammates Mariel Ante and Evy Van Genechten.

Freshmen Lea Kozulic and Maddie Johnson captured the ‘C’ flight title with an 8-4 triumph over Creighton’s Taylor Koehrsen and Amanda Noonan.

Drake head coach Paul Thomson praised the Bulldogs’ day one sweep.

“It’s good for them to get some of the wins we did against some of the teams we did today,” Thomson said.

Despite winning doubles, nerves plagued the young Bulldogs on Friday.

“We played well in spots,” Thomson said. “We did not play anywhere near our potential. We played close to our ability level in spots but not consistently enough. We’ve got five freshmen on the court right now, and they’re playing like freshmen. They’re great athletes, but they’ve got a lot to learn.”

Learning doubles strategy tops Drake’s to-do list after Friday’s shaky start.

“In the doubles, it’s court positioning,” Thomson said. “It’s understanding our targets and angles. It’s body language. Once they get the nerves and jitters out of them, I think we’ll be OK.”

Few jitters troubled Drake on Saturday as the Bulldogs claimed their fourth title. Sophomore Amanda Dick won the ‘Round Robin’ draw with a 6-0, 6-0 win over Nebraska-Omaha.

The Bulldogs enter this weekend’s Redbird Classic with four Drake Fall Invitational titles and newfound confidence.

“We’re just really confident, and it means we’re going to have more confidence for the next matches,” Rebol said. “I’m really excited.”

The Bulldogs are back in action this weekend at the Redbird Classic in Normal, Ill.

The Drake Fall Invitational concluded on Sunday with the Bulldogs still in position to claim as many as five singles titles. Details on those matches can be found in the next issue of The Times-Delphic.

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