By Jonathon Zenk, NSU Sports Information Graduate Assistant
The Northwestern State women’s tennis team surged to an early lead Friday at Tulane before dropping a tough dual-match opener 4-3.
After winning the doubles point, the Lady Demons (0-1) won four of the first six singles sets of the before the Green Wave stormed back to win four singles matches.
Even in defeat, NSU scored its first point in three matches against Tulane (1-0) after being shut out 4-0 in 2018 and 2017.
“We had a very good and tough match today,” said NSU head coach Patric DuBois. “I felt we had Tulane on the ropes at times, yet they never went away. Hats off to them for playing a very good match today.”
The Lady Demons started by winning the doubles point with two doubles wins.
Redshirt freshman Rhea Verma and sophomore Patrycja Polanska were put into the No. 2 doubles slot and won 6-4 over Adelaide Lavery and Christina Sisti to clinch the doubles point. The junior duo of Judit Castillo Gargallo and Emilija Dancetovic defeated Laura Fabrizi and Alex Alegre in No. 3 doubles to help earn the point.
Senior Polina Mutel showed why she is the reigning Southland Conference Player of the Year by dominating Elena Muller 6-1, 6-2, to get the singles scoring started and put NSU up 2-0.
Castillo Gargallo also earned a win at No. 6 singles. The 2018 All-SLC Second Team member fell in the first set 7-5, but rebounded to win tight second and third sets 7-6 and 6-4 to earn the victory.
Polanska, Verma and junior Ela Iwaniuk all took the first set before dropping their final two sets and falling in three. In her first regular season match as a Lady Demon, Verma performed well in No. 1 singles, but ultimately dropped a tough one 2-6, 7-5, 7-5.
Iwaniuk, the 2018 SLC Newcomer of the Year, took the first set 6-0 before dropping a pair of 6-3 sets. Polanska had Sisti on the ropes, leading 5-0 in the second set after winning the first, but Sisti came back to defeat Polanska in the second set 7-6 and then took set three convincingly 6-1.
“I thought we had a great effort today from all of the girls today,” DuBois said. “In the end, a few points made the difference. We’ll learn from this and move forward.”
NSU returns to action Jan. 25 when it travels to Boca Raton, Florida, for the Florida Atlantic Owl Cup. The Lady Demons return to Natchitoches Feb. 2 when they play UL Lafayette.
Tulane 4, Northwestern State 3
New Orleans, La.
City Park Tennis Center
1. Laura Fabrizi (TUL) def. Rhea Verma (NSU) 2-6, 7-5, 7-5
2. Polina Mutel (NSU) def. Elena Muller 6-1, 6-2
3. Ivone Alvaro def. Maria Skyba (NSU) 6-4, 6-1
4. Christina Sisti def. Patrycja Polanska (NSU) 6-7, 7-6, 6-1
5. Daniela Lafuente def. Ela Iwaniuk (NSU) 0-6, 6-3, 6-3
6. Judit Castillo Gargallo (NSU) def. Alex Alegre 5-7, 7-6, 6-4
1. Ivone Alvaro/Elena Muller def. Polina Mutel/Maria Skyba (NSU) 6-1
2. Rhea Verma/Patrycja Polanska (NSU) def. Adelaide Lavery/Christina Sisti 6-4
3. Judit Castillo Gargallo/Emilija Dancetovic (NSU) def. Laura Fabrizi/Alex Alegre 6-3
Northwestern State 0-1
Order of finish: Doubles (1, 3, 2); Singles (2, 3, 5, 1, 4, 6)
Photo Credit: Chris Reich, NSU Photographic Services