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Five in a row: Drake beats Creighton, Wisconsin

Story by Austin Cannon

Photos by Joel Venzke

wtennis_joel-w2000-h2000The Drake women’s tennis team won its fourth straight match Friday, dispatching former MVC rival Creighton, 7-0. The Bulldogs upped the streak to five in row with a 4-3 win over Wisconsin on Sunday.

Sophomore Mariel Ante and senior Klavdija Rebol both clinched 10-point tiebreaker wins to secure the sweep against the Bluejays.

Ante won her first set against Creighton’s Analese Synder, 6-1, but stumbled in the second set, losing 6-4.

However, Ante was able to cruise to a 10-3 win in the tiebreak, out-working Snyder.

When Synder’s final return went into the net, Ante let out one of her trademark yells, accompanied by a vigorous fist pump.

Rebol, like Ante, won her fist set (6-3) and faltered in her second, losing 6-2 to Bluejay Jennie Hartjes.

In the tiebreak, Rebol was able to climb out of a 2-4 hole to tie it a 6-6. She then held a 9-7 lead, which Hartjes shortened to 9-8 by forcing Rebol to send a forehand shot long.

wtennis2_joel-w2000-h2000Rebol, however, was able to hold on when Hartjes was unable to return her serve, sending it long and giving Rebol the 10-8 victory and the match.

The Bulldogs set the aggressive tone early in doubles play, bringing energy and good play near the net.

Sophomore Jordan Eggleston and junior Nell Boyd downed Snyder and Sam Anderson, 8-1.

Sophomore Maddie Johnson and Rebol claimed the doubles point for Drake by shutting out Creighton’s Liz Vermillion and Amanda Noonan, 8-0.

Ante and fellow sophomore Lea Kozulic’s match against CU’s Hartjes and Katherine Nelsen  ended when Drake won the doubles point. The Bulldog tandem was up 5-3 when it was called.

‘We’re relentless. That’s what I really emphasize, that we’re relentless,” said Drake head coach Sadhaf Pervez. “I think it’s to the point that we owe it to ourselves not to just beat our opponent, but to really beat them.”

Johnson won her 11th-straight match over the quite frustrated Nelsen to give Drake a 2-0 lead.

Johnson was able to stay consistent, leading Nelsen to make her own mistakes.

wtennis3_joel-w2000-h2000Boyd furthered the Drake lead to 3-0 with a decisive 6-0, 6-2 win over Noonan.

Even in a relatively easy match, Pervez saw Boyd’s effort.

“When you watched her play, you thought it was a third-set tiebreaker, the way she fought for every single point,” Pervez said.

Eggleston, who guaranteed the 7-0 victory before the match, clinched it for the Bulldogs by making short work of Anderson, 6-2, 6-0.

Kozulic defeated Vermillion 6-1, 6-2 for her 14th overall win of the season.

The Wisconsin win was Drake’s first win over a Big 10 team since 2002 and first-ever win over the Badgers. Find a full recap of the match in Thursday’s issue.

The team has been practicing twice a day, trying to get better.

“I’m about the improvement, and I think the improvement has shown a lot,” Pervez said.

This Drake team also only has six players, meaning that they all play in every match.

“You kind of have to individualize everyone’s injuries, moods, sickness, but, then again, it’s easy since you don’t have a lot of numbers,” Pervez said.

The Bulldogs travel to Nebraska Friday to play the Cornhuskers.


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