WHAT'S AHEAD: The second-seeded Drake women's tennis team travels to Omaha, Neb., in search of the program's third NCAA Tournament berth when the Bulldogs open competition at the State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Championship versus Northern Iowa on Friday (April 27).
Drake was awarded the No. 2 in a three-way tiebreaker between the Bulldogs, Illinois State and Southern Illinois. A Drake victory and it moves into the semifinals for the first time since 2006 and will face the winner of the No. 3 Illinois State/No. 6 Creighton contest on Saturday (April 28) at 9:00 a.m.
A YEAR AGO: The Bulldogs came up short in their State Farm MVC quarterfinal match dropping a 4-3 decision against Illinois State on April 29, 2011, in St. Louis, Mo.
Reversing their fortunes from the regular season encounter with the Redbirds, the Bulldogs won matches at the Nos. 1 and 3 positions to earn the doubles point.
Illinois State won the first two singles tilts to assume a 2-1 lead before Manca Krizman (Solkan, Slovenia) squared the affair at two, at the No. 1 slot, 6-2, 6-2.
The Redbirds regained the advantage, 3-2, before Klavdija Rebol (Kranj, Slovenia) netted a 7-6 (3), 6-2, decision at No. 3, to send the match to a winner-take-all affair at No. 4.
The Bulldogs appeared on the verge of victory as Jessica Aguilera (Santa Cruz, Bolivia) won the first set against Ariane Maack, 6-2, and held a 5-3 lead in the second frame. Maack rolled off four unanswered points to take the second set, 7-5, and then won the final frame, 6-2, to give Illinois State the triumph.
A LOOK BACK: Drake established a school-record with its 21st victory of the season, a 7-0 decision past Creighton on Sunday (April 22).
The two sides split decisions at the Nos. 1 and 3 doubles positions before the tandem of freshman Nell Boyd (Arlington Heights, Ill.) and junior Ali Patterson (Overland Park, Kan.) registered an 8-5 victory at No. 2 to provide Drake the tally.
The Bulldogs came out determined to notch the triumph in singles and their efforts showed, sweeping all six contests.
Sophomore Klavdija Rebol started the effort with a 6-0, 6-1 victory at the No. 2 slot.
Turning in her team-best 55th win of the year at the top position was junior Manca Krizman (Solkan, Slovenia), who bested Jennie Hartjes, 6-4, 6-0.
Earning the match-clinching point at No. 4 was senior Jessica Aguilera, who dispatched Elizabeth Vermillion, 6-3, 6-1.
Demos added Drake's fifth point with a 6-1, 6-2 triumph versus McMullan before Aragon downed Amanda Noonan at No. 6, 6-2, 6-4. Closing the match with a 4-6, 6-2, 10-4 win over Taylor Koehrson at No. 5 was Boyd.
A day earlier, Drake ran into a talented Wichita State team that was firing on all cylinders last Saturday (April 21) as the 61st-rated Shockers earned a 7-0 victory over the Bulldogs.
Wichita State staked itself to all the scoring it needed registering a sweep of the doubles competition.
Drake's best opportunity for victory came at the No. 3 singles position where Demos earned a 7-6 (7) tiebreaker win in the second set over Lucia Kovalova to send the tilt to a deciding third set. In the final frame, Kovalova registered a 10-4 triumph in the super tiebreaker to win the match 6-1, 6-7 (7), 10-4.
IN OUR LAST MEETING:
DRAKE 4, NORTHERN IOWA 3 (APRIL 15, 2012 - DES MOINES, IOWA): Overcoming an early 1-0 deficit, Drake opened MVC play registering a come-from-behind 4-3 triumph over Northern Iowa on March 31 at the Roger Knapp Tennis Center.
Doubles play came down to the wire as the Panthers' duo of Jessica Kunzelmann and Nina Pfahler notched a 7-5 decision over Jessica Aguilera and Klavdija Rebol in the tiebreaker at No. 2, to post a 9-8 (5) victory and claim the doubles point.
On the strength of her 23rd-straight win in singles play, Manca Krizman squared the affair at one, after dispatching Pfahler at the top slot, 6-0, 6-2.
Kunzelmann eased Northern Iowa back into the lead, 2-1, after downing Gabriela Demos at No. 3, 6-3, 6-1. Aguilera followed by erasing the deficit at the No. 5 position, winning, 6-3, 6-1.
Ali Patterson gave the Bulldogs the lead for good recording a 6-1, 6-4 decision at No. 6.
Clinching Drake's first victory over the Panthers since the 2009 campaign was Rebol, who conquered Cassandra Dix at the No. 2 position, 6-4, 6-2.