STORY BY ADAM ROGAN
As the regular season draws to a close, the Bulldogs have picked up another two wins against teams in the Missouri Valley Conference, as the toughest matches of the conference season are on the horizon.
The Bulldogs now have a record of 19-4 thus far in the 2014-2015 season and are undefeated against MVC opponents.
“They’re both very dangerous teams and they’re both very good teams,” senior Nell Boyd said. “Just being able to handle our business and only give up one match was awesome for us.”
The biggest story of the weekend was Boyd reaching a personal and Drake Women’s Tennis milestone. She picked up her 100th career singles win against Evansville, just two wins shy of the school record of 102, set by Cecily Dubusker from 1998-2002.
“(It’s great) for the current girls on the team who can say she was the best player at Drake, and that’s how I view her,” head coach Sadhaf Pervez said.
Boyd already has the doubles wins record with 95, a record that she broke with partner Maddie Johnson earlier this season. Boyd also has the most total Drake wins with 195, shattering the previous record of 139.
“It’s amazing to hit 100 wins in tennis,” Pervez said. “That’s showing up everyday. That’s getting it done everyday, since she’s been a freshman.”
However, before Boyd could get to her 100th win, she had to reach number 99, which she earned on Saturday against Southern Illinois.
The Bulldogs took all three matches in the doubles point. Juniors Jordan Eggleston and Tess Herder were pushed into a tiebreaker, but still won 8-6.
Once the singles competition began, half of the matches looked like they were going to be all Drake, while the other three proved to be tightly fought.
Eggleston nearly swept her opponent, winning her match 6-0, 6-1. Sophomore Summer Brills followed that up with a 6-3, 6-2 win, and freshman Adrienne Jensen sealed the match: 6-3, 6-3.
Both junior Lea Kozulic and Boyd lost the first set, Boyd getting swept 0-6. Kozulic bounced back and won the final two sets 6-4, 6-2. Boyd’s job would prove to be even tougher.
With her back pressed against the wall, Boyd stayed alive in the second set and won the tiebreaker game to push the match into a third set.
The pressure was on every single point in set three, but Boyd was unphased and came away with the set, and her 99th win, 10-6.
The Bulldogs played again the next day and faced off with Evansville, their second match in the Roger Knapp Tennis Center in two days.
Jensen and junior Mariel Ante lost their doubles match in a tiebreaker, but their team backed them up, the Bulldogs taking a 1-0 lead.
Five straight set victories for the Bulldogs followed, Drake controlling the game on all courts.
However, the first court match between Ante and Evansville’s Marketa Trousilova was much more intense.
Trousilova was given a run for her money in the first set, but still defeated Ante 6-4. Ante returned with a dominant 6-2 victory to push the game into a third set.
It was a back-and-forth battle, but Ante was unable to come away with the victory, losing 10-8.
The Bulldogs are now set to finish their regular season this weekend at home, facing off with the top two teams in the conference. If they can go undefeated this weekend Drake will be the top seed in the MVC entering the conference tournament.
“We really need to stay mentally focused and fight our hearts out this weekend,” Eggleston said. “Going into the tournament in first is our goal, and hopefully winning the tournament as well.”
The Bulldogs will face Missouri State on Saturday. If they can come away with the victory they will be guaranteed the second seed.
On Sunday they will take on Wichita State, a team that hasn’t lost an MVC match and only given up one point against conference opponents in seven years.
“I’ve been telling the team from spring break that we have to play the perfect match. We can’t beat (Wichita State) playing an OK match,” Pervez said. “We have to keep the games tight on every single court and have them prove that they’re the best team, but they are definitely beatable.”