by ERIN O’BOYLE
The Drake women’s tennis team hosted two of their three matches this past weekend at the Roger Knapp Tennis Center. The team went into a busy weekend of play with a 2-3 record for the season. After falling to BIG-10 schools, Wisconsin and Minnesota, the past two weekends the Bulldogs faced off against another BIG-10 school and neighbor, Iowa State. The cyclones and Bulldogs met in neutral territory on Friday, February 21st at the Urbandale Lifetime Fitness location. The Bulldogs lost the doubles point despite an intense tiebreaker set that Liza Petushkova and Joely Lomas, at No. 1 doubles, were able to win. The singles competition was just as disappointing for the Bulldogs. At No. 1 singles, Lisa Petushkova won by opponent retirement, meaning that her opponent was unable to complete the match, thus giving Petushkova the win for No. 1 singles. Megan Webb, at No. 6 singles, was the only other member of the Drake women’s tennis team to claim victory over Iowa State in the singles competition. The Bulldogs left their match against the Cyclones with a disappointing final score of 2-5.
The next day, the Bulldogs were up early to face the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee Panthers. The Panthers pounced quickly by securing the doubles point. Drake’s No. 2 and No. 3 doubles teams were Panther prey, whereas No. 1 doubles put up a fight, but had to leave the match unfinished thus giving Milwaukee the doubles point to start the match. However, it was not long before the Bulldogs showed the Panthers a bite of their own. Petushkova, at No.1 singles, won in set scores of 6-4, 7-5. No. 2 singles player Maria Tatarnikova won in set scores of 6-3,7-6. Lomas was at No. 3 singles, and was the first to finish her match with an impressive set score of 6-0, 6-2. Finally, Carmen Palumbo won at No. 4 singles in a well fought match in which she fell in the first set 5-7, came back to clench the second set 6-1, and sealed the deal in the third set with a 6-3 set score. No. 5 and 6 singles for Drake, Kelsey Neville and Megan Webb, both left their matches unfinished. Drake’s singles sweep sent the Panthers packing in a final score of 4-1 Bulldogs. Senior Joely Lomas commented on the match saying, “I think the home court advantage was huge for us on Saturday and helped us battle through against Milwaukee.”
After their win against Milwaukee the previous day, the Bulldogs capped off their busy weekend at home against Gustavus Adolphus College on Sunday, February 23rd. The Drake women’s tennis team showed no mercy in the doubles competition. All Drake doubles teams were victorious against Gustavus Adolphus College. The singles competition was equally as exciting for the Bulldogs as one by one, they finished victorious in every match. Even more impressive is that both Tatarnikova, at No. 2 singles, and Daria Walczak, at No. 4 singles, only gave up one game in their two sets. A full sweep in both doubles and singles left Drake winning 7-0 overall on Sunday afternoon.
A busy weekend for the women’s tennis team ended with a 4-4 record and two match winning streak.
“I think the team did a great job staying composed throughout the tight moments which is something we have been working on in practice,” Lomas said. “Trying to replicate pressure is always difficult but being able to come through those close points is what can make the difference. I think we competed extremely well, and excited to get another opportunity this next weekend to play 2 more home matches before being on the road for most of March and April.”
The Bulldogs will continue to host with matches against North Dakota and Kansas City at the Roger Knapp Tennis Center next weekend.