Tennis Downs Northern Illinois 4-0 in MAC Tournament Quarterfinal
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DEKALB, Ill. – Angelina Jogasuria's straight-set win at No. 4 singles clinched a 4-0 win for the second-seeded University of Akron tennis team over seventh-seeded Northern Illinois on Friday afternoon in the quarterfinal round of the Mid-American Conference championship at West Tennis Courts on the NIU campus.
The Zips (22-3), who are the tournament's defending champion, have positioned themselves in the event's semifinal round for the third-consecutive season and third time in program history. UA, which has won 10 of its last 12 matches, will face off against third-seeded Western Michigan in Saturday's semifinal at 3 p.m. ET (2 p.m. CT). WMU downed sixth-seeded Buffalo 4-3 today.
Akron took the early advantage over Northern Illinois (11-12) by claiming the doubles point, behind victories at the first and third positions, and won at the No. 2, 4 and 6 singles flights in straight sets to earn the right to advance in the bracket.
"It's good to get through this first match," second-year Akron head coach Brandon Padgett said. "NIU came out and played very well, and we had to match their intensity from the start. The conditions were cold and very windy, but we did a good job of fighting through it."
All-MAC selections Zara Harutyunyan and Prang Pantusart joined forces at No. 1 doubles and took an 8-2 decision over Sara McLaughlin and Emily Rogers, and MAC Freshman-of-the-Year choice Olga Shkundina and Angelina Jogasuria paired to claim the doubles point thanks to an 8-3 win over Haley Dekkinga and Stephanie McDonald.
Angelina Jogasuria clinched the deciding match point with a 6-2, 6-3 victory over Mary Malkin at No. 4 singles, after Shkundina got the best of McLaughlin 6-4, 6-3 at No. 2 and Natalia Kuvakina disposed of McDonald 6-3, 6-1 at No. 6.
At the time the match was decided, Harutyunyan was up 7-5, 2-2 at No. 1 over Nelle Youel, Pantusart led 6-4, 5-1 at No. 3 versus Dekkinga and held a 7-5, 4-2 advantage over Arantza De La Torre at No. 5. Additionally, the Zips pair of and Kuvakina led 7-4 at No. 2 doubles over Youel and De La Torre when the early point was secured.
The tournament winner will earn the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Championship.
Zips Notebook: UA and NIU were meeting for the second time in less than one week as the Zips defeated the Huskies 7-0 in the MAC season finale in DeKalb on April 21 ... Akron won its fourth-straight MAC tournament contest ... freshman Olga Shkundina improved her record this season versus dual-match singles competition to 22-2 ... the Zips No. 1 doubles pair of Zara Harutyunyan and Prang Pantsusart improved to 20-1.
(2) Akron 4, (7) Northern Illinois 0
1. Zara Harutyunyan/Prang Pantusart (Akron) def. Sara McLaughlin/Emily Rogers (NIU) 8-2
2. Angelika Jogasuria/Natalia Kuvakina (Akron) vs. Nelle Youel/Arantza De La Torre (NIU) 7-4, unfinished
3. Angelina Jogasuria/Olga Shkundina (Akron) def. Haley Dekkinga/Stephanie McDonald (NIU) 8-3
1. Zara Harutyunyan (Akron) vs. Nelle Youel (NIU) 7-5, 2-2, unfinished
2. Olga Shkundina (Akron) def. Sara McLaughlin (NIU) 6-4, 6-3
3. Prang Pantusart (Akron) vs. Haley Dekkinga (NIU) 6-4, 5-1, unfinished
4. Angelina Jogasuria (Akron) def. Mary Malkin (NIU) 6-2, 6-3
5. Ksenia Berestetska (Akron) vs. Arantza De La Torre 7-5, 4-2, unfinished
6. Natalia Kuvakina (Akron) def. Stephanie McDonald (NIU) 6-3, 6-1
Order of finish:
Doubles – 3, 1
Singles – 2, 6, 4
Akron – 22-3
Northern Illinois – 11-12