Women's Tennis Edged 4-3 at Northern Illinois

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ROCKFORD, Ill. 
– The University of Akron women's tennis team lost 4-3 to Northern Illinois in a Mid-American Conference match on Friday afternoon at the Boylan Tennis Center.

Akron (10-10, 0-3 MAC) earned wins at Nos. 3, 4 and 5 singles, after falling behind 3-0 due to a loss of the doubles point and straight-set defeats at the first two flights of singles. Northern Illinois (6-7, 1-2 MAC) clinched match point with a three-set victory at No. 6 singles, which occurred prior to UA's win at No. 3 and after its victories at Nos. 4 and 5 pulled it to within 3-2 in the match scoring.

"Once again, we cannot push through the injury issues haunting us this season," Akron head coach Brandon Padgett said. "Martina (Zerbola) went down on Monday, but tried to fight through for us today as did Olga (Shkundina), but we need other players to step up for us if we expect to win."

Shkundina lost 6-1, 6-0 at No. 1 singles to Nelle Youel, while Zerbola was bested 6-2, 6-0 at No. 2 by Cristina Alvarez. NIU's Stephanie McDonald defeated Caroline Harpaintner 6-1, 1-6, 6-3 at No. 6 to earn match point.

The Zips, playing their third-straight road match, claimed straight-set wins at No. 4 by Shannon Newnes over Arantza De La Torre 6-3, 6-1, and No. 5 by Ksenia Berestetska versus Mary Malkin 6-1, 6-0. UA's win at No. 3 was a three-set decision by Karolina Maksimava against Haley Dekkinga, 2-6, 7-6 (2), 6-2.

In doubles, Dekkinga and McDonald topped Berestetska and Harpaintner 8-4 at No. 3, and Youel and De La Torre got the best of Shkundina and Newnes 8-7 (2) at No. 1. Zerbola and Maksimava won 8-1 at No. 2 versus Malkin and Maria Rozer.

Akron returns home to face conference opponents Ball State and Miami (Ohio) on Friday, April 4 and Saturday, April 5, respectively. Both matches are set to begin at 1 p.m. ET.

Zips Notebook: Akron senior Ksenia Berestetska improved her dual-match singles record to 16-2, including a 2-1 mark versus MAC opponents ... today's loss ended a four-match win streak for UA in the all-time series against NIU ... Akron dropped to 8-6 on the road this year.

Northern Illinois 4, Akron 3

Doubles:
1. Nelle Youel/Arantza De La Torre (NIU) def. Olga Shkundina/Shannon Newnes (UA) 8-7 (2)
2. Martina Zerbola/Karolina Maksimava (UA) def. Maria Rozo/Mary Malkin (NIU) 8-1
3. Haley Dekkinga/Stephanei McDonald (NIU) def. Ksenia Berestetska/Caroline Harpaintner (UA) 8-4

Singles:
1. Nelle Youel (NIU) def. Olga Shkundina (UA) 6-1, 6-0
2. Cristina Alvarez (NIU) def. Martina Zerbola (UA) 6-2, 6-0
3. Karolina Maksimava (UA) def. Haley Dekkinga (NIU) 2-6, 7-6 (2), 6-2
4. Shannon Newnes (UA) def. Arantza De La Torre (NIU) 6-3, 6-1
5. Ksenia Berestetska (UA) def. Mary Malkin (NIU) 6-1, 6-0
6. Stephanie McDonald (NIU) def. Caroline Harpaintner (UA) 6-1, 1-6, 6-3
 
Order of finish:
Doubles – 2, 3, 1
Singles – 1, 2, 5, 4, 6, 3

Team records:
Akron – 10-10, 0-3 MAC
Northern Illinois – 6-7, 1-2 MAC