Tennis looks to extend win streak

With a four-game-winning streak on their backs, the Bowling Green women’s tennis team prepares for the Mid-American Conference Championships this weekend.

The Falcons finished the season with a 10-10 overall record and a 5-4 mark in the MAC earning them fifth seed for the championships and a bye in the first round of the tournament.

The first round will take place tonight with No. 7 Ball State facing No. 10 Buffalo and No. 8 Toledo against No. 9 Akron. BG will take on fourth-seeded Northern Illinois tomorrow.

The championships will be held in Ypsilanti, Mich., with the Bowling Green vs. Northern Illinois match scheduled for 10 a.m. at Ypsilanti High School.

“I feel good about the tournament,” head coach Penny Dean said. “First of all, it’s a higher seed than anyone expected us to go in with. I think it’s the best match-up we could hope for.”

The Falcons were picked seventh in the preseason coaches poll.

Northern Illinois enters the championships with an overall record of 12-7 and a 6-3 record in MAC play.

The Huskies three losses in MAC play came to the top three seeded teams in the conference — No. 1 Marshall, No. 2 Eastern Michigan and No. 3 Western Michigan.

In the quarterfinal round of the tournament Marshall will face the winner of the Akron vs. Toledo match, Eastern will play with winner of the Ball State vs. Buffalo match, and Western Michigan will take on No. 6 Miami. All quarterfinal matches will take place on Friday.

“We feel confident that we can beat them,” Dean said. “We lost to them earlier in the season and we didn’t play well.”

The Falcons dropped a 6-1 decision to the Huskies March 28, with Heidi Romer earning the lone victory for BG at the sixth flight. However, since that match the falcons have turned things around, winning their last four matches of the regular season.

“We have a good momentum right now,” Dean said. “We’re playing well. We’re playing much better than we were when we played them at the end of March.”

The Falcons also have Lisa Maloney back at the No. 1 position. She missed part of the season due to an injury, but is now back at full strength.

“We’ll have some different match-ups because Lisa is back at No. 1,” Dean said.

Susie Schoenberger played at the No. 1 position and Alyson Gabell followed behind at the second flight the last time the Falcons faced the Huskies. Maloney played in the third singles flight.

This weekend will be the final matches of Gabel’s collegiate career as she is the lone senior on the team.

The Falcons are also hoping the weather will go in their favor this weekend.

“The plan is that we’ll play them outside,” Dean said. “When we played them at the end of March we played them inside and we do believe that outside play is a precision to Bowling Green’s play.”

If the Falcons defeat NIU they will take on either Marshall, Toledo or Akron in the semifinals on Saturday at 10 a.m. The championship match will be held at noon on Sunday. Both the semifinal and final matches will be held at Chippewa Club in Ypsilanti, Mich.