CINCINNATI – What looked to be two potential upsets for the Northern Kentucky University tennis teams quickly turned into two losses at the hands of Drury University Friday afternoon in Great Lakes Valley Conference action at the Beechmont Racquet Club.
The NKU men’s team, which had its 11-match winning streak snapped by Xavier University on Thursday, began the match with a 3-0 advantage but lost 6-3.
The NKU women’s team, the 42nd-ranked team in the nation by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association and fourth in the Midwest Region, won the third flight doubles point but proceeded to lose the next six matches before eventually falling 6-3 to the 31st-ranked Panthers.
In the men’s match, NKU was awarded three points before the first serve ever took place due to Drury only traveling with four players on the roster. NKU was awarded the third flight doubles point and the fifth and sixth singles flight points.
With the win, Drury (9-4, 5-0 GLVC) now stakes claim to a 35-match conference winning streak since joining the GLVC for the 2005-06 season. The Panthers are currently ranked eighth in the country by ITA as well as first in the Midwest Region – NKU is ranked eighth regionally.
The Panther duo of Antonio Garcia Santos and Alex Kacamakis were not challenged in an 8-0 victory over the Norse tandem of Will Knoll and Tyler Fraser. Nahom Serekeberhan and Ivan Marevic won the other doubles match 8-5 over Fritz Dlabik and Ignacio Ortiz.
Needing to win a combination of two singles and/or doubles matches out of the six possible and after Garcia Santos defeated Jason Kramer (6-2, 6-2) and Kacamakis bludgeoning Ortiz (6-4, 6-1), the Norse were now down to their two singles matches.
Dlabik gave the Norse a little life in his match against Serekeberhan as he won the first set in dominating fashion 6-1. Serekeberhan then squeaked out a 7-5 decision in the second set and took control from there by taking the third and final set 6-3.
While the Dlabik/Serekeberhan match was being hotly contested, Knoll was in a battle himself against Marevic.
Knoll lost the first set 6-1 before storming back to take the second set 6-3. Marevic then mirrored his first set win by taking the third set, also by a 6-1. The win clinched the team victory for the Panthers as Marevic won his singles matches just minutes prior to Serekeberhan winning his own match.
In women’s action, the Norse duo of Jenny Hand and Ivana Misic won their third flight doubles match over Lindsey Castrodale and Anna Lustig 8-3 to give NKU (12-5, 3-1 GLVC) an early 1-0 lead in the team standings.
The rest of the doubles matches were back-and-forth the entire way but unfortunately for the Norse, Drury was able to pull out both team points as the duo of Katia Bon and Chandra Capozzi defeated Stephanie Isaacs and Jillian Sturgeon 8-6 as did Alba Passanisi and Khrystsina Tryboi over Michelle Schirmann and Kristen Sunday.
Then the proverbial wheels fell off the NKU wagon as Drury proceeded to take the next four team points to secure themselves the victory.
Bon steamrolled over Isaacs (6-0, 6-0), Capozzi downed Sunday (6-3, 6-4), Tryboi narrowly slipped past Schirmann in three sets (6-2, 3-6, 6-4), and Passanisi cruised by Hand (6-3, 6-3).
It wasn’t until the match was decided before the Norse were able to win a singles point.
After winning the first set in relative ease (6-1), Maggie Koetter then slid past Castrodale in the second set tiebreak 7-6 (8-6). A graduate of Sycamore High School, Koetter upped her individual record to an astonishing 16-1 on the season and 31-3 in her two years at NKU.
Sturgeon finished her match out against Lustig in the super-tiebreak third set. After a match is already decided, the players can continue to play and if they choose to do so and go into a third set, they will play a super-tiebreak set with the first one to 10 points and a two point lead winning the match.
In this case, it was Sturgeon that reached 10 points as she won the match 7-5, 2-6, 1-0 (10-3).
The win gave Drury a 28-match winning streak against GLVC foes with their last loss coming in the 2006 GLVC Championship match against Indianapolis. It also snapped an eight match winning streak the Norse had compiled.
Both NKU teams will be back in action Saturday morning as Rockhurst University will invade the Joyce Yeager Tennis Complex.