Story by Austin Cannon
Photos by Joel Venzke
After the score was tied at 1-1, the Bulldogs won five singles matches in a row to secure the victory.
Drake head coach Sadhaf Pervez was pleased with her team’s effort against an improved Kangaroo squad.
“We are playing better each week, and I am proud of how hard the girls are practicing. We lost 4-3 to this team last year, and they are a stronger team this spring with their incoming freshmen, so it shows our team’s competitiveness,” Pervez said in a Drake athletics press release.
Sophomore Mariel Ante gave Drake the lead it would never relinquish by beating Raquel Argenal, 6-1, 6-1.
“We were ready for it. Everyone felt good. Coach told us that everyone’s hitting really well at practice, and we just brought that confidence in the match,” Ante said. “We were there to beat them.”
Fellow sophomore Jordan Eggleston upped the lead to 3-1 by handling Gaby Pintos, 6-3, 6-0.
Junior Nell Boyd clinched the match for the Bulldogs with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Kangaroo Maddie Schulte.
Lea Kozulic claimed Drake’s fifth and final point by dispatching Mariam Kurasbediani, 7-6 (6), 6-2.
In the final match of the contest, UMKC’s Dimitra Stavrianakou secured a hard-fought win over Drake senior Klavdija Rebol, 7-5, 5-7, 10-7.
The Bulldogs collected the doubles point via a win from Ante and Kozulic over Linda Ammar Mouhoub and Stavrianakou, 6-2.
Earlier, the team of Boyd and Rebol defeated Pintos and Shulte, 6-2.
Johnson’s ailing shoulder kept her from competing, but her teammates were able to step up.
“We told her, ‘We got your back, Maddie. We got this.’ The fight was there,” Ante said.
The team was separated into two separate venues for singles play, making it difficult for Pervez to coach the entire team at once like she does at the Roger Knapp Tennis Center.
“If one (player) didn’t do their job and another one is also not doing well, Coach would have to go back and forth,” Ante said. “It was just really different for all of us.”
Next, the Bulldogs play host to Gustavus Adolphus on Saturday at 4 p.m. at the Roger Knapp Tennis Center.