By Jonathon Zenk, NSU Sports Information Graduate Assistant
NATCHITOCHES—Following four consecutive 4-3 victories to start the home portion of Southland Conference play, the league-leading Northwestern State Lady Demon tennis team received wins from the top three singles spots en route to a 6-1 win against Southeastern Louisiana Sunday at the Jack Fisher Tennis Complex.
It is the ninth victory in the last 10 for the Lady Demons (15-3 overall, 7-0 Southland Conference), who maintained their spot at the top of the conference standings.
With the loss, Southeastern Louisiana (5-10, 2-5) has dropped its last three and four of its last five.
NSU began its day fast, as it won the doubles point with triumphs in the No. 2 and 3 spots. The No. 3 team of Judit Castillo Gargallo and Emilija Dancetovic cruised to a 6-0 victory over Bernadette Dornieden and Himani Mor. Patrycja Polanska and Rhea Verma dispatched Katya Cornejo and Flory Bierma 6-3 at No. 2 to clinch the point.
It was only the second time in conference play the Lions lost the doubles point.
“We did a good job coming out aggressive in doubles to win the point,” head coach Patric DuBois said. “I felt we carried this over to singles on most of the courts today. We still have plenty to improve to be where we want to be on a consistent basis.”
In singles, four matches were straight set wins for NSU. The two newcomers, Maria Skyba and Antonio Blattner, led the charge, as they won convincingly. Blattner had a dominating performance, defeating Mor 6-1, 6-0 at No. 5, and Skyba finished off Dornieden 6-0, 6-3 in the No. 2 slot to put the Lady Demons in control, ahead 3-0.
“At first I was very nervous,” Blattner said. “It actually helped me on the court. I was 100 percent focused and I did what I had to do. I knew how I had to play and I was confident.”
Junior Ela Iwaniuk was the last one to win in straight sets, as she clinched the match for NSU 6-3, 6-0 over Cornejo. She took over the team lead in singles wins with 13, and improved to a perfect 7-0 in conference action.
Senior Polina Mutel cruised in the first set against Putri Insani 6-1, but the second was a back-and-forth battle which Mutel won 7-6, prevailing in the tiebreaker 7-5.
Redshirt freshman Rhea Verma continued her perfect conference season with a pro-set victory over Ceci Mercier, 6-2, 3-6, 10-8. Her 12 overall wins is tied for second on the team with Castillo Gargallo.
The triumphs by Mutel and Verma made it 6-0.
In the final contest on a chilly day, Polanska dropped a tight one to SLU’s Bierma, losing a back-and-forth pro set 13-11, to make the final team score 6-1.
NSU hits the road for its final two road matches of the season next weekend, starting with a huge match Friday against Sam Houston State before finishing the weekend at rival Stephen F. Austin. Both matches begin at 1 p.m.
Northwestern State 6, Southeastern Louisiana 1 Women’s Tennis at Natchitoches, La. – Jack Fisher Tennis Complex
1. Polina Mutel (NSU) def. Putri Insani (SLU) 6-1, 7-6 (7-5)
2. Maria Skyba (NSU) def. Bernadette Dornieden (SLU) 6-0, 6-3
3. Rhea Verma (NSU) def. Ceci Mercier (SLU) 6-2, 3-6, 10-8
4. Flory Bierma (SLU) def. Patrycja Polanska (NSU) 6-7 (4-7), 7-5, 13-11
5. Ela Iwaniuk (NSU) def. Katya Cornejo (SLU) 6-3, 6-0
6. Antonia Blattner (NSU) def. Himani Mor (SLU) 6-1, 6-0
1. Polina Mutel/Ela Iwaniuk (NSU) vs. Putri Insani/Ceci Mercier (SLU) unfinished
2. Patrycja Polanska/Rhea Verma (NSU) def. Katya Cornejo/Flory Bierma (SLU) 6-3
3. Emilija Dancetovic/Judit Castillo (NSU) def. Bernadette Dornieden/Himani Mor (SLU) 6-0
Northwestern State 15-3 overall, 7-0 Southland
Southeastern Louisiana: 5-10 overall, 2-5 Southland
Order of finish: Doubles (3,2); Singles (6,2,5,1,3,4)