Northwestern State grinds out UIW win to set up bout with Islanders on Sunday

Gig Kanaphuet

NATCHITOCHES – Against a gritty Incarnate Word squad, Northwestern State created enough quick singles set wins to build an insurmountable edge in a 6-1 win on Friday.

The Lady Demons (10-4, 3-0 Southland Conference) captured the first four points to secure the victory, setting up a showdown with Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (16-2, 2-0 SLC) on Sunday. The match, which has heavy regular season title implications, begins at 11 a.m.

“That’s a gritty UIW team that makes you earn it, and anytime you play a team like that, it’s going to be a dogfight,” said NSU coach Jonas Brobeck. “We did some good things at spots, but we need to finish when we get on top in matches and be brave enough to continue to do the right things.

“That’s part of the process, but we’re getting better with every match. We’ll take this 6-1 win and bring it into a tough match Sunday with the Islanders.”

Ayu Ishibashi sped to a 6-1 first-set win against Kinga Psut before grinding out a 6-4 victory in the second set at No. 4.

Tjasa Klevisar’s quick win happened in the second 6-2 that followed a competitive 6-3 first-set win against reigning SLC Player of the Week Gargi Pawar.

Viktorie Wojcikova supplied the clinching point by gutting out a 7-5 first-set win before sprinting to a 6-0 win in the second set.

“I was trying to win every point, but I had in my head that I should win this match, but (Parkinson) wasn’t easy,” Wojcikova said. “I had more confidence in the second set, and I improved my serve because my serve in the first set wasn’t very good.

“That made my game better overall. Now we turn to (TAMU-CC), and it’ll be very tough. Every player is very good, and I think we have to have very good energy and fight for every point.”

In doubles play, NSU won its sixth straight doubles point without dropping a match.

Wojcikova/Rozalie Dohnalova blitzed their way to a 6-0 win (Sophia Franco Salcedo/Taylor Parkinson) against at No. 2 before Ishibashi/Patrycja Polanska outlasted Alejandra Landaluce/Sophia Kermet 6-4 at No. 3.

The pairing of Klevisar/Mariella Minetti was leading 5-3 at No. 1 when the point was decided.

Minetti battled through physical difficulties in singles play, toughing out a 6-3 first-set win before recovering in a 6-4 second set in which she trailed before winning the final three games against Kermet.

Gig Kanaphuet also had a recovery of her own. Kanaphuet dropped the first set (6-2) before rebounding to win the final two sets (6-3, 6-0) against Landaluce.

“Good job by Gig again, and she goes out there and plays her game,” Brobeck said. “Had a slow start today, but she found herself and turned the match around.

“Small things can make a large difference, and that happened again today.”

UIW scored its lone point in the No. 1 slot when Franco Salcedo topped Dohnalova 6-1, 7-6 with a 10-5 tiebreaker.

Dohnalova took a 5-2 lead in the second set.

“Dohnalova had a better second set against a really good player, and you have to stay in the points,” Brobeck said. “She got on top, now we have to work on finishing those sets as well.”

PHOTO: Chris Reich/NSU Photographic Services