STORY BY ADAM ROGAN
Two sweeps in Illinois extended the Bulldogs’ win streak to five, improving the Women’s Tennis team to 17-4 on the season and 3-0 in conference play, still locked in a battle with Wichita State University for the top spot in the Missouri Valley Conference.
“In the MVC we always have to play with a chip on our shoulders and we always stay motivated to do our best,” Lea Kozulic said. “Every single person wants to do their job and the results show our work.”
Traveling to Normal, Illinois to face Illinois State University on Friday, Drake dominated the Redbirds and earned a 7-0 victory.
The Bulldogs won every match by at least four games in the doubles point, and the singles matches followed suit.
The closest set came between Drake junior Mariel Ante and Illinois State’s Kadi Ilves on the first court, the first set ending with a score of Ante: 6 and Ilves: 4. Ante swept Ilves in the second set 6-0, the final match of the day, to complete the sweep for the Bulldogs.
Drake kept their momentum rolling as they took on Bradley University the next day, even though the match proved to be a little more evenly matched.
Head coach Sadhaf Pervez stuck with the same lineup as she did the day before, and it was just as successful as the Bulldogs picked up another doubles point sweep before a slew of Drake two set victories came in the singles competitions.
Both Maddie Johnson and Kozulic were taken into a 12th game in their second set, but got away with two set victories to help give Drake another win.
“We’ve had a pretty good year so far in conference so we all just played with confidence,” Kozulic said.
“I think we’ve worked really hard in the past couple weeks,” Johnson added. “I think it’s kind of building up the wins and building up the confidence.”
Ante also picked up a 6-3, 6-1 on the first court, improving her win percentage to back over .500 for the first time since March 25.
The Bulldogs didn’t drop a single set this weekend, a strong showing as conference play heats up.
Drake is now ready to finish their season at home, facing off with Southern Illinois University on Friday and Evansville University the following day. They will play two more home matches the next weekend, including one against reigning conference champions Wichita State. The MVC Tournament begins week after, the winner of which will earn a birth in the NCAA Tournament.