Redbirds Fall to Drake in Final Conference Match, 4-3
April 21, 2013
BLOOMINGTON, Ill.-The Illinois State Women's tennis team (9-12, 4-3 MVC) fell to fourth place in the Missouri Valley Conference standings after dropping the final conference match of the season to the Drake Bulldogs (12-9, 5-2 MVC) on Sunday, April 21 at the Evergreen Racquet Club in Bloomington, Ill.
"Our goal as a team is always to be in the top three. So, today is tough one for us," head coach Chris Hoover said. "After seeing the intensity we came out with in doubles, I really thought we had a shot today. For this match, I thought doubles were the key. We played competitive right up to the end and even won four out of six first sets in singles. This loss is a tough one to swallow."
In doubles, the Redbirds came out on top. Kadi Ilves and Phyllis Tigges first defeated Klavdija Rebol and Jordan Eggleston, 8-5 before Emmie Marx and Stefanie Youngberg were able to edge out Nell Boyd and Evy Van Genechten, 8-6 to collect the team point for doubles. The match at No. 3 doubles, between Redbird partners Carolina Abello and Heather Nisbet and Drake's Ali Patterson and Mariel Ante, resulted as unfinished.
Singles began with a 1-0 Illinois State advantage, but a late surge from the Bulldogs ultimately turned the tides in Drake's favor resulting in a 4-3 loss for the Redbirds. Abello and Tigges picked up the only team singles victories, with Abello defeating Lea Kozulic at the No. 3 spot, 6-3, 6-0 and Tigges defeating Van Genechten at the No. 2 spot, 6-4, 6-2.
Abello has played solid singles this weekend as well as all season long for the Redbirds at the No. 3 position, and is now tied for the most singles victories on the team with Marx at 21 wins. Abello only has one loss to a conference opponent during both the fall and spring this season and also won a MVC Individuals championship during the fall.
The competition came down to matches at the No. 1 and No. 4 singles positions. With only matches at the No.1 and the No. 4 spots remaining unfinished, the Redbirds held a 3-2 advantage as a team. At No. 1 singles, Marx fell first in three sets to Rebol, 5-7, 7-5, 6-2, tying the team score at 3-3 and leaving the outcome of the competition in Ilves's hands. Ilves and Boyd continued to battle before Boyd finally defeated Ilves in three sets, 7-5, 1-6, 6-4 to end the match, 4-3 in favor of the Bulldogs.
The match against Drake also marked the final home competition of Youngberg's career. Youngberg is the teams only senior and currently holds the second most singles victories for the team with 20.
The team will now prepare to compete in the MVC Team Championships. The MVC Team Championships are to be hosted by the Wichita State Shockers in Wichita, Kan. The Redbirds have finished runner-up to the Shocker for three consecutive years in the MVC Team Championship finals. Competition will take place on April 26 and 27 with the finals being played on Sunday April 28. Play will begin in the morning and will continue all day.
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