NIU Tops Ball State to Open MAC Women's Tennis Championship

Updated 4/23/2009

Story courtesy of Bowling Green State University athletic media relations.

BOWLING GREEN, Ohio - The Mid-American Conference Tennis Championships got underway Thursday afternoon (April 23), with a match that went right down to the wire. Northern Illinois rallied from a 3-0 deficit to post a 4-3 victory over Ball State in first-round action at Keefe Courts on the Bowling Green campus.

With the win, NIU advances to the quarterfinal round of the nine-team tournament. The Huskies, seeded eighth, will face top-seeded Miami in Friday's (April 24) quarterfinal round. Northern is now 7-15.

Ball State, the tourney's ninth seed, bows out with a 5-14 dual-match record.

The match ended in similar fashion to the teams' regular-season meeting in Muncie on March 20. In both cases, NIU's Martina Schnapp picked up a win over BSU's Kylee Johnson at the third flight to clinch the victory. Just as in their regular-season matchup, Schnapp won the opening set, with Johnson bouncing back to take the second. Schnapp closed out both matches in the third set.

In Thursday's match, the Cardinals got out to an early lead. BSU captured the doubles point, as the third-flight tandem of Hanna Oman and Hayley Hall picked up an 8-2 win, while the BSU team of Georgina Thomson and Dena Boulieris won by an 8-5 count at the number-one flight.

And, when singles play got underway, the Cardinals upped that laad to 3-0. Oman downed Brooke Forsberg in straight sets at the fifth flight, and Boulieris closed out a second-flight match against Northern's Kathryn Friedlund, also in two sets. But, back came the Huskies.

Sara McLaughlin was a winner over BSU's Thomson in two close sets at the sixth flight, and Emily Rogers wrapped up a straight-sets victory over Hall at the fourth. Suddenly, it was a 3-2 BSU lead.

When Lilian Asuaje won the third set over Sarah Hebble at the number-one flight, NIU had evened the match, with only the third-flight match still on the court. Schnapp had taken the first set, only to see Johnson rally back and win a second-set tiebreaker to knot the match. But, Schnapp would pull away in the third set for a 6-2 win.

NIU, as mentioned, will face top-seeded Miami on Friday morning at 10:00 a.m. That match will be held at Keefe Courts. Also at 10:00 a.m., fourth-seeded Bowling Green will battle fifth-seeded Toledo at Keefe Auxiliary Courts, located behind the BGSU Ice Arena. The afternoon matches will see #2 Buffalo taking on #7 Eastern Michigan at Keefe Courts, with #3 Western Michigan doing battle with #6 Akron at the auxiliary courts.

NORTHERN ILLINOIS 4, BALL STATE 3

Thursday, April 23, 2009 - Keefe Courts - Bowling Green, Ohio MAC CHAMPIONSHIPS - FIRST ROUND

SINGLES

1 - Lilian Asuaje (NIU) def. Sarah Hebble 6-3, 3-6, 6-0

2 - Dena Boulieris (BSU) def. Katie Friedlund 6-3, 6-2

3 - Martina Schnapp (NIU) def. Kylee Johnson 6-4, 6-7 (1), 6-2

4 - Emily Rogers (NIU) def. Hayley Hall 6-2, 6-3

5 - Hanna Oman (BSU) def. Brooke Forsberg 6-0, 6-4

6 - Sara McLaughlin (NIU) def. Georgina Thomsen 6-4, 7-5

DOUBLES

1 - Thomson/Boulieris (BSU) def. Forsberg/Schnapp 8-5

2 - Asuaje/Rogers (NIU) led Hebble/Johnson 6-4, abandoned

3 - Oman/Hall (BSU) def. Friedlund/McLaughlin 8-2

ORDER OF FINISH

DOUBLES - 3,1

SINGLES - 5,2,6,4,1,3