STORY BY ADAM ROGAN
Women’s Tennis has improved to 15-4 on the season after picking up two wins against the University of Iowa and the University of Northern Iowa this past week.
The Bulldogs traveled to Iowa City on Wednesday to take on in-state rivals Iowa University in what ended up being a tightly contested match, leading to a come-from-behind victory.
After dropping the doubles point, the Bulldogs started out at a disadvantage. Junior Maddie Johnson tied the match at one, but senior Mariel Ante fell in straight sets soon after to give Iowa their lead back.
Iowa’s Annette Dohanics took down junior Jordan Eggleston 6-3, 6-3 to put the Hawkeyes one point away from victory, but that’s when the Bulldogs found their momentum, with their backs against the wall.
Freshman Adrienne Jensen prevented a third set by winning a tiebreaker 7-4 in set two to pull the Bulldogs within one. Junior Lea Kozulic followed suit, tying the match with a 6-1, 6-3 win.
The pressure then fell on senior and team captain Nell Boyd, now in a do-or-die situation on court three.
She pulled off a 6-4 win in set one, and was forced into an extra game in set two. Leading six games to seven, Boyd sealed her own and her team’s match victory by winning the 12th game of the set, ending a two match individual losing streak and improving to 11-6 on the season.
The win also gave Drake their first victory against Iowa since 1992.
The Bulldogs’ next competition took place in Cedar Falls as they played their first conference match of the season against Northern Iowa.
This time around Drake got off to an early lead by taking the doubles point in close matches, which gave the team momentum as they transitioned into singles.
Ante lost again, despite winning the first set 6-3 as she was swept 6-0 in set two and fell 6-3 in set three.
Freshman Summer Brills also got off to an early lead with a 6-1 first set win, but dropped the next two.
The rest of the Bulldogs picked up the slack, however, as Drake pushed on to victory.
Jensen picked up her 11th win in 13 matches, fighting for a 7-6, 6-4 victory. Kozulic also got her 13th consecutive victory, sweeping UNI’s Sydney Wolfe 6-0, 6-0.
Johnson and Boyd also picked up straight set victories, setting the final score at 5-2.
Boyd’s play also earned her MVC Tennis Player of the Week honors due to her play in each match with two crucial wins.
“I’m really excited about that, beating Iowa and beating UNI and having both clinching matches is pretty neat,” Boyd said. “It feels good for sure.”
These two wins make Drake undefeated against all other teams in Iowa, the first time that has happened in over two decades.
“That’s a big accomplishment for us, especially against a really good Iowa team,” head coach Sadhaf Pervez said.
This win should help give Drake momentum as the conference season picks up, with seven more matches in the next three weeks before the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament begins on April 24.
“We need to be ready beacuse all the teams are going to come out strong against us with a nothing to lose kind of attitude,” Pervez said.
“I think we just really need to keep working hard like we’ve been doing, compete hard and just give it our all and see what happens,” Jensen said.
This weekend the Bulldogs will travel to Illinois to take on the Illinois State University and Bradley University, before returning to Des Moines to finish their season at home.