Women's tennis easily defeats Huskies on the road
Senior Tanvi Shah and the women’s tennis team defeated Northern Illinois, 6-1, on the road Saturday. Yusong Shi, The Spectrum
The women's tennis team's motto this year has been to play with consistency and discipline. The Bulls (11-3, 2-1 Mid-American Conference) followed this game plan on Saturday, as they took an early lead in the match and never slowed down, defeating Northern Illinois (6-8, 1-3 MAC) 6-1 Saturday afternoon.
Head coach Kristen Maines believes the players executed the game plan perfectly, sticking to what has worked for them all season long.
"It's been a theme for us on how we work, by being consistent first and then we're able to win the big point," Maines said. "Many times players get tempted to go for the big shot when in reality you need to achieve the basics first and that's staying consistent and disciplined."
Maines thinks the team has played extremely well to this point this season regardless of whether it's on the road or at home at the Miller Tennis Center.
"I don't think being away had any bearing on us, but the girls played absolutely outstanding from start to finish [Saturday]," Maines said.
The Bulls started strong with an 8-1 win by the senior duo of Miranda Podlas and Tanvi Shah in first singles competition. Seniors Marta Stoyanova and Anamaria Candanoza followed suit with another 8-1 victory. Freshman Margarita Kotok and Laura Holterbosch's 8-3 victory capped off the sweep of doubles play, giving the Bulls the doubles point.
Doubles play has been a strong point for the Bulls this season. Buffalo has a 51-22 record in doubles competition this season.
"Doubles point is critical because it gives you momentum going into singles," Maines said. "It's always been a stressed factor by me. We practice doubles a lot and it's something we've really worked at so it's not by chance."
With the early lead heading into singles play, the Bulls stayed hot for the rest of the match. Stoyanova earned the first point for the Bulls, defeating Maria Rozo, 6-1, 6-0. The second singles point for the Bulls came as Podlas easily defeated Cristina Alvarez, 6-1, 6-1, giving Buffalo a 3-0 lead. The Bulls secured the victory with the next finish as Kotok handed Arantza De La Torre a 6-1, 6-3 defeat.
With the match already clinched, Candanoza defeated Mary Malkin, 6-1, 6-1. Shah - the Bulls' No. 1 singles player - defeated Northern Illinois' Nelle Youel, 3-6, 6-2, 10-8, to keep the possibility of a sweep alive.
In the last match to finish, junior Laura Fernandez battled Haley Dekkinga in one of the few three-set matches of the contest. Fernandez dropped the first set 4-6 but rallied back to win the second 7-5. Fernandez couldn't carry the momentum into the third set, as she lost 10-7 in the final set.
Next weekend's matches will be the Bulls' last home contests of the season. Buffalo begins the weekend with Miami Ohio (9-4, 1-0 MAC) Friday. The Bulls will honor Candanoza, Podlas, Shah and Stoyanova before Saturday's match against Ball State (11-7, 1-0 MAC) for Senior Day. Both matches are set for 1 p.m. at Miller Tennis Center.
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