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Boyd wins deciding match, gives Bulldogs 4-3 victory over Badgers

Story by Austin Cannon

Photos by Joel Venzke

wtennis1_joel-w2000-h2000Junior Nell Boyd’s 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 victory over Wisconsin’s Sydney Rider clinched the Drake women’s tennis team’s first-ever victory over the Badgers.

With the contest tied at 3-3, all eyes turned to the action on court No. 4.

In a rematch from the fall, Rider took the first set, 6-4. Contrary to what she might have thought, Boyd wasn’t going to fold.

“I had the feeling that she probably thought that I was just going to roll over and give it to her,” Boyd said. “I came back and I was ready. I wanted to win so bad.”

In the second set, Boyd took a 5-2 lead, but Rider was able to cut the deficit to 5-4.

“She was kind of streaky. She would make some balls and then she’d miss a lot, so I kind of had to stay steady,” Boyd said.

Boyd closed the set, 6-4, and then jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the third, but Rider again battled back to cut the lead to 5-4.

By that time, the pressure was on.

“I like pressure, especially when it’s resting on my shoulders, I feel like it gives me an extra burst of energy,” Boyd said.

Boyd eventually took the match point, finally dispatching the pesky Rider.

“She was a really good player, and I just think holding my composure and not freaking out when she was coming back was what helped me win,” Boyd said.

wtennis2_joel-w2000-h2000After a loss to Wisconsin-Milwaukee to open the season, the Bulldogs have won five straight.

The Badgers evened the match at 1-1 when Lauren Chypyha dismissed Klavdija Rebol, 6-0, 6-0, on court No. 1.

Sophomore Jordan Eggleston, who primarily played in the No. 6 position so far this season, won her No. 5 singles match over Badger Nova Patel, 6-3, 6-4. At that point, Drake was up 2-1.

Sophomore Lea Kozulic extended the Bulldog lead to 3-1 by besting Becca Bailey 7-6 (1), 6-2, on court No. 6.

Wisconsin, however, wasn’t going to go quietly.

Anastasia Tripolskaya was able to end Drake sophomore Maddie Johnson’s 2014 undefeated streak, 0-6, 7-5, 6-3, to cut the deficit to 3-2.

Sophomore Mariel Ante had a chance to put it away for Drake, winning her first set against Lauren Burich, 7-6 (0), but Burich was able to rally and claimed the second and third sets, 6-3, 6-3.

That left the match in the hands of Boyd.

“I think some girls get really nervous when they’re in a situation like that. I was trying not to pay attention to the scoreboard, and once Mariel finished, I knew I was the only one,” Boyd said.

In doubles play, Drake was able to win two of the three matches to claim the point.

Boyd and Eggleston were able to hold off Rider and Tripolskaya, 8-6.

On court No. 2, Johnson and Rebol were able to beat Bailey and Chypyha, 8-5.

Ante and Kozulic couldn’t quite overcome the Wisconsin pair of Burich and Patel, falling 8-5 to the Badgers.

The win marked the Bulldogs’ first over a Big 10 team since beating Minnesota in February  2002.

“We’ve been working so hard, practicing like crazy and just training so hard that it’s that much better knowing we worked so hard to win,” Boyd said.

Drake travels to Nebraska tomorrow to try and make it two in a row over Big 10 teams at 5 p.m. The Bulldogs stay in Lincoln, Neb., and play Colorado State on Saturday.


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