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In-State Showdown With Northern Iowa Opens MVC Championship For Drake

Courtesy: Drake Athletics
         
Release: April 24, 2013
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WHAT’S AHEAD
The Drake women’s tennis team travels to Wichita, Kan., to compete in this weekend’s Missouri Valley Conference Championship hosted by Wichita State at the Coleman Tennis Complex.

The Bulldogs, who are the tournament’s No. 3 seed, open competition for the second-consecutive campaign versus Northern Iowa on Friday (April 26) at 4:00 p.m.  A victory by Drake advances the Bulldogs to face the winner of the No. 2 Southern Illinois/No. 7 Creighton match on Saturday (April 27) at 2:00 p.m.

The women’s title showdown takes place on Sunday (April 28) at 10:00 a.m.

2012 MVC CHAMPIONSHIP RECAP
Drake garnered its first postseason victory since 2006 with a 4-1 triumph over Northern Iowa at the State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Championship on April 27, 2012 in Omaha, Neb.

The Bulldogs staked themselves to an early 1-0 advantage after securing the doubles point on the strength of an 8-1 decision by Jessica Aguilera and Klavdija Rebol (Kranj, Slovenia) at the No. 2 position.

Gabriela Demos extended the Bulldogs’ lead to 2-0 in singles at No. 3, 6-4, 6-0.  Adding a win at the top slot was Manca Krizman, 6-3, 6-1.

The Panthers cut the Bulldogs’ advantage to 3-1 with a triumph by Chelsea Moore over Nell Boyd (Arlington Heights, Ill.) at No. 4, 7-5, 6-3.

Clinching the Bulldogs’ first postseason triumph since defeating Missouri State in the quarterfinal round of the State Farm MVC Championship in 2006 was Rebol, who rallied for a 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 win at the No. 2 position.

Drake though fell short of its bid to play in its initial State Farm MVC Championship title match appearance since 2001, as Illinois State handed the Bulldogs a 4-0 setback in the semifinal round on April 28, 2012.

Illinois State had proven itself to be Drake’s postseason nemesis in recent years, as the Redbirds ended the Bulldogs’ postseason run in five of the previous six seasons.

Illinois State took advantage in doubles registering victories at the top-two slots in doubles to secure the doubles tally.

The Redbirds carried over their momentum into singles action, recording wins at the Nos. 1, 2 and 4 positions to earn the victory.

A LOOK BACK
The Bulldogs swept a pair of road matches last weekend registering victories at Bradley (6-1) and Illinois State (4-3) on Saturday (April 20) and Sunday (April 21), respectively.

Drake 6, Bradley 1 (April 20, 2013)
PEORIA, Ill. - The Bulldogs swept all three doubles matches with senior Ali Patterson (Overland Park, Kan.) and freshman Mariel Ante (Riverside, Calif.) notching the deciding tally with an 8-6 decision at the No. 3 position.

Freshman Lea Kozulic (Verazdin, Croatia) extended Drake’s advantage to 2-0 in singles, 6-1, 6-0 on the No. 2 court.

Fellow freshman Jordan Eggleston (LaQuinta, Calif.) stretched the margin to 3-0 after downing Przystawski at No. 4, 6-0, 6-3.

Nell Boyd recorded the match-clinching point at the No. 3 spot netting a 6-2, 6-2 win.

Drake also received victories at the Nos. 1 and 5 positions courtesy of Klavdija Rebol and Ante. 

Rebol posted her 50th career singles win, 6-2, 6-4, while Ante bettered Cassia Wojtalik, 6-1, 3-6, 6-2.

Drake 4, Illinois State 3 (April 21, 2013)
NORMAL, Ill. - Drake closed its regular season with a bang registering a come-from-behind 4-3 victory at Illinois State last Sunday (April 21).  The triumph represented the first road victory for Drake over the Redbirds since 1999.

Illinois State snatched the early momentum in the affair with wins at the top-two doubles slots to take a 1-0 lead into singles action.

Jordan Eggleston got Drake on the scoreboard opening singles with a 7-5, 6-2 triumph at the No. 5 position.

The Redbirds looked poised to claim the victory following consecutive wins at the Nos. 2 and 3 spots to regain a 3-1 lead.

Mariel Ante began the Bulldogs’ comeback besting Gabby Phillips at No. 6, 7-6 (7), 6-2.

Klavdija Rebol followed with a 5-7, 6-4, 6-2 triumph at the top spot to even the affair at three.

For the second day in a row, it was Nell Boyd garnering the match-clinching tally.  Boyd’s 7-5, 1-6, 6-4 decision versus Kadi Ilves gave Drake its third consecutive winning campaign.

IN OUR LAST ENCOUNTER
Drake 2, Northern Iowa 2 (March 30, 2013)
CEDAR FALLS, Iowa - Drake opened its 2013 MVC slate registering a 5-2 victory over Northern Iowa.

The in-state showdown began with the two sides splitting decisions at the Nos. 2 and 3 doubles positions, setting the stage for a winner-take-all match on the No. 1 court.

In that affair, Klavdija Rebol and Jordan Eggleston bested Krissy Lankelma and Phoebe Walker, 8-6, to provide the Bulldogs a 1-0 advantage.

Freshman Maddie Johnson (Onalaska, Wis.) pushed Drake’s margin to 2-0 in singles, registering a 6-2, 6-1 victory at No. 4.

The Panthers evened the affair at two following consecutive wins at the Nos. 1 and 3 positions, before the Bulldogs closed out the match with three unanswered triumphs en route to a 5-2 victory.

Freshman Evy Van Genechten (Antwerp, Belgium) began the march downing Lankelma at No. 2, 6-2, 6-2.  Eggleston followed by recording the match-clinching tally at No. 6, 6-0, 6-1.  Rounding out the Bulldogs’ victory total at No. 5 was Nell Boyd, 6-3, 6-2.

SCOUTING THE BULLDOGS
Drake returns four letterwinners from a squad that posted a school record in wins with a 22-7 ledger last spring, including a second-place showing in the Missouri Valley Conference.  The Bulldogs picked up where they left off a year ago in the fall, registering a 102-76 combined singles/doubles record.

Freshmen Jordan Eggleston, Maddie Johnson, Nell Boyd, Klavdija Rebol and Evy Van Genechten lead Drake with 45-25, 36-21, 36-25, 35-30 and 34-25 combined singles/doubles ledgers, respectively.  Eggleston has registered a team-best 23 singles victories, while also owning a team-high 22 doubles triumphs.

The Bulldogs also have received combined double-digit victory totals from Mariel Ante, Lea Kozulic, Ali Patterson and sophomore Amanda Dick (Kenosha, Wis.) with 28, 26, 20 and 11 wins, respectively.

DRAKE ODDS-N-ENDS
•    The Bulldogs own a 1-2 record in MVC Championship contests under third-year head coach Paul Thomson.  The victory last season versus Northern Iowa represented the Bulldogs’ first postseason triumph since 2006.
•    Nell Boyd owns an 9-1 mark in her last 10 singles matches.  
•    Klavdija Rebol registered her 50th career singles win for Drake last weekend at Bradley.
•    Rebol has established a new career-high with 21 doubles wins this season.
•    During the dual campaign, Jordan Eggleston paces the Bulldogs with 12 doubles victories, while Rebol has contributed 11.
•    Van Genechten leads Drake with a 14-5 singles record during the spring season, while also owning winning marks are Maddie Johnson (10-3), Boyd (13-8), Eggleston (11-7), Rebol (10-10), Mariel Ante (5-1) and Amanda Dick (4-4).

HOME COOKING
The Bulldogs own a 29-9 mark in the Roger Knapp Tennis Center under head coach Paul Thomson.

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.

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 Gabriela Demos.

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).

UP NEXT
Three victories by Drake sends the Bulldogs to the NCAA Tournament, while a loss concludes the 2013 campaign for Drake.

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