The Drake women's tennis team will open its fall campaign this weekend hosting the Drake Fall Invitational at the Roger Knapp Tennis Center. The eight-team event will include Creighton, Drake, Iowa State, Nebraska Omaha, North Dakota, Northern Illinois, South Dakota and Wichita State.
Action gets underway on Friday (Sept. 14) at 2:00 p.m. with doubles and one round of singles and will continue both Saturday (Sept. 15) and Sunday (Sept. 16) at 9:00 a.m. each day.
SIZING UP THE BULLDOGS
Drake returns three of six starters from a year ago, sparked by junior Klavdija Rebol (Kranj, Slovenia), who registered a 41-21 combined singles/doubles ledger, including a 22-8 singles mark.
Senior Ali Patterson (Overland Park, Kan.) also makes her return after posting a 19-12 combined ledger in her return from injury the season before. Sophomore Nell Boyd (Arlington Heights, Ill. contributed double-figure win totals in singles and doubles, registering 20-13 and 21-16 records, respectively.
In doubles, the Bulldogs received 21, 19 and three victories courtesy of Boyd, Rebol and Patterson.
Rounding out the roster are sophomore Amanda Dick (Kenosha, Wis.) and freshmen Mariel Ante (Riverside, Calif.), Jordan Eggleston (LaQuinta, Calif.), Maddie Johnson (Onalaska, Wis.), Lea Kozulic (Varazdin, Croatia) and Evy Van Genechten (Antwerp, Belgium).
A YEAR AGO
Drake closed the Drake Fall Invitational on a strong note on Sept. 11, 2011 at the Roger Knapp Tennis Center as the Bulldogs netted a 7-3 mark in singles play.
In the 'B' doubles draw, the Bulldogs garnered a run to the title match from the tandem of Aragon and Boyd. The duo though suffered an 8-5 setback in the championship match versus Wichita State's Valerie Brockman and Lucia Kovalova (WSU).
DRAKE HEAD COACH PAUL THOMSON
Paul Thomson is in his third season leading the Drake women's tennis program after serving five years (2005-10) as head men's and women's coach at Brevard College in Brevard, N.C.
Thomson led the Bulldogs to a 13-10 mark during his inaugural campaign, including a 4-3 third-place finish in the Missouri Valley Conference and Drake's first winning record since 2006.
During his rookie season guiding the Bulldogs, he mentored then freshman Klavdija Rebol, who became Drake's initial first team All-MVC performer since 2005, garnering all-league accolades at the No. 3 singles position. Manca Krizman was also honored for her play on the court, being named to the All-Select squad by the MVC coaches.
Off the court, Gabriela Demos was honored for the second-consecutive year as a first team MVC Scholar-Athlete selection.
In 2012, Thomson led the Bulldogs to a record-setting 22-7 ledger, en route to a 5-2 second-place finish in the MVC. The 22 victories established a school record for wins and allowed Drake to surpass the 20-victory plateau for only the second time in school history.
The Bulldogs captured their initial postseason triumph since 2006 when Drake advanced to the State Farm MVC Championship semifinals with a 4-1 victory over Northern Iowa.
Five players earned 20 or more singles wins, sparked by Krizman, who posted a team-best 31-5 singles record, which included a 25-match winning streak. Every Bulldog registered a winning singles' record, while all but one Drake player matched the feat in doubles, led by 27 wins courtesy of Demos.
Pulling in MVC All-Select team honors were Krizman and Rebol, while Demos was named to the All-MVC Scholar Athlete first team for the third-consecutive campaign. Collecting honorable mention All-MVC Scholar-Athlete accolades was Krizman.
Drake's senior class of Amanda Aragon, Jessica Aguilera, Demos, Krizman and Earlynn Lauer made its mark on the Bulldogs' program. Demos finished first in school history (since 2006-07) in combined career victories (139), while ranking third in school history (since 1990-91) in career doubles wins (74). Krizman is third in school history (since 2006-07) in combined career victories (126), while Aguilera is rated fourth (120).
Drake continues its fall campaign visiting Normal, Ill., to compete in the Redbird Classic (Sept. 21-23).