By BEN JOHNSON
Northeastern State received a rude awakening in doubles play in its last match against Southwest Baptist on Saturday. The RiverHawks were handed three doubles losses — for the first time all season — in a narrow defeat against the Bearcats.
NSU coach Amanda Stone wanted to make sure her team corrected those miscues on Tuesday against Arkansas Tech.
“I think that loss showed us a lot of things we need to work on,” Stone said. “I think we were pretty fired up (on Tuesday), especially in doubles. I think we kind of took it as an insult when we were swept, because we work so hard there.”
The RiverHawks certainly rectified any doubles issues they had in a 9-0 victory over Arkansas Tech at the NSU Tennis Complex in non-conference action. In fact, NSU dropped only four games in three doubles matches.
At No. 1 doubles, NSU’s Ivana Belejova and Kristina Savchenkov rolled to an 8-0 victory over Bohdana Sardak and Laura Sanchez. The RiverHawks’ Martina and Bruzikova and Barbora Jirickova did the same against Arkansas Tech’s Nina Greenway and Allison Grahl at No. 3 doubles.
“It’s really good for their confidence, because, I think, that’s what holding them back a lot in their 3 doubles matches,” Stone said of Bruzikova and Jirickova. “Just when they start making mistakes they start getting down, but they stayed up the whole time. And we’ve really been talking about playing the points and not worrying about the score this last week, so hopefully that’s happening. And it looked good (Tuesday).”
NSU’s only brief hiccup in doubles play was Jeanna Mallem and Houda Bellamine giving up four games in an 8-4 win over Maria Aleman and Camila Roca at No. 2 doubles.
With a 3-0 edge after doubles competition, NSU (14-2) didn’t let up in singles play, flattening Arkansas Tech in six easy, straight-set victories.
Savchenkov easily rolled past Arkansas Tech’s Aida Castany, 6-0, 6-0, at No. 2 singles. For the season, Savchenkov is now 14-2.
Belejova won 6-3, 6-0, at No. 1 singles and Bruzikova was another easy winner, 6-0, 6-1, at No. 3 singles. Mallem (No. 4 singles), Bellamine (No. 5 singles) and Jirickova (No. 6 singles) also won with Jirickova now 13-1 in singles play this year.
Up next for the RiverHawks are a pair of Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association games on the road on Friday and Saturday. NSU will be at Nebraska Kearney on Friday before taking on Fort Hays State on Saturday.
“I think we’ll be fine this weekend,” Stone said. “We just have to come out ready to play against everyone and we should be fine.”
With only four conference matches left, NSU is currently in second place in the MIAA standings behind Southwest Baptist.
“We can beat everyone [left] on our schedule, but we just have to come to play or we’ll have trouble with people,” Stone said. “So we just have to focus on the next one and the next one.”
NSU 9, Ark. Tech 0
1. Ivana Belejova (NSU) def. Bohdana Sardak (ATU) 6-3, 6-0
2. Kristina Savchenkov (NSU) def. Aida Castany (ATU) 6-0, 6-0
3. Martina Bruzikova (NSU) def. Maria Aleman (ATU) 6-0, 6-1
4. Jeanne Mallem (NSU) def. Laura Sanchez (ATU) 6-0, 6-4
5. Houda Bellamine (NSU) def. Allison Grahl (ATU) 6-3, 6-2
6. Barbora Jirickova (NSU) def. Nina Greenway (ATU) 6-3, 6-2
1. Ivana Belejova/Kristina Savchenkov (NSU) def. Bohdana Sardak/Laura Sanchez (ATU) 8-0
2. Jeanne Mallem/Houda Bellamine (NSU) def. Maria Aleman/Camila Roca (ATU) 8-4
3. Martina Bruzikova/Barbora Jirickova (NSU) def. Nina Greenway/Allison Grahl (ATU) 8-0