DeKALB, Ill. – The nationally-ranked University of Akron tennis squad closed out its Mid-American Conference schedule with a 7-0 victory over Northern Illinois on Saturday afternoon at West Tennis Courts. The Zips are winners of seven-straight and nine of their last 10 matches.
Akron (21-2, 7-1 MAC), listed No. 75 in this week's Intercollegiate Tennis Association poll, won at all three doubles positions and claimed five of six singles flights in straight sets to secure the No. 2 seed in next week's conference tournament, which will coincidentally be hosted by Northern Illinois (11-10, 2-5 MAC). UA is the defending league tournament champion.
The Zips allowed the Huskies to win only three total games in doubles, taking an 8-0 decision at No. 1, winning 8-2 at No. 2 and being victorious 8-1 at No. 3. On the singles courts, NIU's Nelle Youel was able to push her contest at No. 1 versus Zara Harutyunyan into a third set, but the Huskies provided little resistance against the rest of the Zips' lineup, winning only four or more games in three sets.
Harutyunyan defeated Youel 6-4, 2-6, 1-0 (11) at No. 1 to keep the shutout intact.
"NIU is a much improved team, and we knew we had to play high quality tennis to beat them," second-year Akron head coach Brandon Padgett said. "I am pleased with the way we fought through some rough patches today, to finish the MAC season on a high note."
The Zips, who own a 10-1 combined record in away and neutral matches this season, will be in Chicago on Sunday to close out the regular-season schedule against non-league foe UIC at 11 a.m. ET (10 a.m. CT). The Flames own a 15-3 overall mark and have won 13-straight matches.
The MAC tournament runs April 26-29 in DeKalb. As the second seed, Akron has earned a bye into the event's quarterfinal round on April 27.
Zips Notebook: UA finished conference play with a 7-1 record for the third-straight year ... today was the team's second-consecutive shutout (versus Toledo on April 14) ... Akron has shut out 10 opponents this season, four in conference play (Ball State on March 24, Bowling Green on March 31, Toledo on April 14) ... the Zips have won the doubles point in 10 of the last 11 matches and 20 times total this season.
No. 75 Akron 7, Northern Illinois 0
1. Zara Harutyunyan/Prang Pantusart (Akron) def. Emily Rogers/Sara McLaughlin (NIU) 8-0
2. Angelika Jogasuria/Natalia Kuvakina (Akron) def. Nelle Youel/Arantza De La Torre (NIU) 8-2
3. Angelina Jogasuria/Olga Shkundina (Akron) def. Stephanie McDonald/Haley Dekkinga (NIU) 8-1
1. Zara Harutyunyan (Akron) def. Nelle Youel (NIU) 6-4, 2-6, 1-0 (11)
2. Olga Shkundina (Akron) def. Sara McLaughlin (NIU) 6-1, 6-2
3. Prang Pantusart (Akron) def. Haley Dekkinga (NIU) 6-4, 6-1
4. Angelina Jogasuria (Akron) def. Mary Malkin (NIU) 6-3, 7-5
5. Angelika Jogasuria (Akron) def. Arantza De La Torre (NIU) 6-2, 6-1
6. Ksenia Berestetska (Akron) def. Stephanie McDonald (NIU) 6-2, 6-1
Order of finish:
Doubles – 3, 1, 2
Singles – 2, 5, 6, 3, 1, 4
Akron – 21-2, 7-1 MAC
Northern Illinois – 11-10, 2-5 MAC