By Jonathon Zenk, Sports Information Graduate Assistant
Freshmen Maria Skyba and Antonia Blattner, as well as junior Ela Iwaniuk, went unbeaten Friday and gave the Northwestern State Lady Demons tennis team three singles finalists at the Ragin’ Cajuns Invitational hosted by UL-Lafayette.
The trio each won both of their singles matches to earn a trip to the finals of their draws.
“I was pleased today with our tenacity and process in all of our matches,” head coach Patric DuBois said. “All four players competed as we expect, and we executed at a high level today.”
Fresh off her flight victory last weekend in the Rice Invitational, Skyba prevailed despite splitting sets and won both of her singles matches in order to reach the finals of Draw 1 at the Ragin’ Cajun Invitational. Iwaniuk, the 2018 Southland Conference Newcomer of the Year, dominated in her two matches, winning both in straight sets to advance to the finals in Draw 2.
It took Skyba pro sets to win each match, including a come-from-behind 3-6, 6-0, 13-11 win against Floriane Picaut of the host school.
In her first tournament as a collegian, Blattner won the final four sets after dropping the first set of her first match, rallying past Louisiana Tech’s Claudia Oravcova 2-6, 7-5, 10-4. She defeated Morgan Forshag of UL-Lafayette 6-3, 6-1 to advance to the finals.
In addition to the 7-1 record in singles, the day started with a pair of doubles wins. The freshman duo of Skyba and Blattner won 6-4 over Incarnate Word and the pair of Iwaniuk and junior Judit Castillo also won their match 6-4 over Stephen F. Austin to advance to the second round of the doubles bracket.
Castillo bounced back from a loss in the first round of her draw to win her second match against Incarnate Word’s Brandelyn Fulgenzi.
“Our goal tomorrow is to build on today’s process and play at a high level Saturday,” DuBois said.
The tournament will finish up on Saturday with the two doubles rounds, followed by the finals in singles.
Here are the Friday results for NSU’s entries in the Ragin’ Cajun Invitational:
Maria Skyba (NSU) d. Floriane Picaut (ULL) 3-6, 6-0, 13-11
Maria Skyba (NSU) d. Jasmin Buchta (Lamar) 6-3, 1-6, 10-3
Ela Iwaniuk (NSU) d. Victoria Kareh (UIW) 6-3, 6-2
Ela Iwaniuk (NSU) d. Darinka Tiboldi (SFA) 6-4, 6-2
Kaja Ljubic (SFA) d. Judit Castillo (NSU) 6-4, 6-3
Judit Castillo (NSU) d. Brandelyn Fulgenzi (UIW) 6-3, 6-2
Antonia Blattner (NSU) d. Claudia Oravcova (LTU) 2-6, 7-5, 10-4
Antonia Blattner (NSU) d. Morgan Forshag (ULL) 6-3, 6-1
Judit Castillo/Ela Iwaniuk (NSU) d. Kaja Ljubic/Darinka Tiboldi 6-4
Maria Skyba/Antonia Blattner (NSU) d. Jelena Dordan/Sara Djurdjevic (IUW) 6-4
CREDIT: Chris Reich/NSU Photographic Services