ARKADELPHIA, Ark. – The No. 25-ranked Northeastern State women’s tennis team defeated No. 24 Drury 5-4 and handled North Central Texas College 8-1 on the first day of the Ouachita Baptist Quad Friday at the Heflin Tennis Courts.
The RiverHawks opened the season 2-0 and they earned a win against one of the nation’s top teams. The Lady Panthers (2-1) were fresh off 9-0 and 8-0 victories to start the season before losing to NSU, and they are also on the heels of an NCAA Round of 16 appearance, a Great Lakes Valley Conference Championship and a 19-4 record a year ago.
Junior Barbora Jirickova and sophomore Kristina Savchenkov were both 4-0 on the day, while seniors Houda Bellamine and Martina Bruzikova both posted 3-1 records.
#25 Northeastern State 5, #24 Drury University 4
The opening match of the day began bright and early at 8 a.m. NSU got on the board first, but the Lady Panthers were able to secure an early 2-1 advantage after winning the doubles competition.
The RiverHawk tandem of Savchenkov and Jirickova kicked off the match with a swift 8-0 triumph over Hadeil Ali and Samanta Zambrano on the second court. DU’s top pair of Stefanie Monsch and Lara Mueller topped NSU’s pair of Bruzikova and Bellamine 8-1. The final doubles match saw Natalia Kozel and Yasemin Glasgow defeat sophomore Lucia Cerchlanova and freshman Maria Lodge 8-4 on the third court.
NSU quickly knotted the match at 2-2 when Bruzikova earned a 6-3, 6-1 upset victory at No. 2 singles over Kozel, the No. 48-ranked singles player in the nation.
Monsch put the Lady Panthers back on top with a decisive 6-2, 6-1 win over Lodge on the fourth court, but Bellamine’s 6-4, 6-2 victory over Mueller on the second court again pushed things to all square.
Zambrano put Drury on the brink of victory on the fifth court when she defeated Cerchlanova 6-1, 6-2, but it was NSU who would find a way to win the final two matches.
Savchenkov, the nation’s No. 49-ranked player, was able to earn a hard-fought 7-6 (7-5), 7-5 victory over No. 42-ranked Ali at the top of the lineup, and Jirickova swung the final results in favor of the RiverHawks with a 6-1, 6-4 win over Glasgow at the sixth flight.