Falcon tennis players perform well during weekend against Illinois

BG’s Nikki Chiricosta earned a school record as the tennis team faced off against two foes from Illinois.

On Friday, April 4, the Falcons took on the Northern Illinois Huskies, a match in which they won 6-1.

All seven players on the Falcons’ roster performed well as they took the doubles point and won five of six singles matches. All five of BG’s singles wins came in straight sets.

“This was a good win for us today,” said BG head coach Penny Dean. “We came out pumped up to play and we did the little things right. We fought hard in all of the critical situations.”

Chiricosta recorded her school record breaking 92nd career singles win as she turned in one best performances of her career at BG. She won by scores of 6-2 and 6-1 against Nelle Youel who was named to the all MAC team in 2013. Chiricosta took an early lead in the first set, and won four-straight games to close out the win. Then, in the second set, she took a 3-0 lead and was never phased after that.

“I would say this was one of the best matches of my career,” said Chiricosta. “I was pleased that I was able to take care of business, maintain my focus after winning the first set and keep my drive going. [Youel] and I have had some very competitive matches. We’ve had some great battles over the years, so it was really nice to get this win today.”

Dean also acknowledged the effort that Nikki Chiricosta turned in.

“I’m very pleased that we won 6-1 today, and nearly won 7-0, because Northern is a much improved team. We know never to count Nikki out but Nelle Youel is one of the top players in the MAC, and we knew that Nikki could have a real battle on her hands today. But, Nikki came out and played one of the top matches we’ve seen her play in college. She got a lead, and you know Nikki isn’t going to let up when she gets a lead like that.”

The next day the Falcons hosted the Chicago State Cougars. The Falcons took the momentum that they gained from the victory against Northern Illinois and used it to turn in an excellent performance against CSU as the Falcons rolled over the Cougars 7-0.

For the second day in a row Dean saw all seven of her team pick up at least one victory. Sophomores Katie Brozovich and Drew Fillis and freshman Harley Hutchison each won at both singles and doubles on the day.

“We wanted to get the win today, but we also wanted to build some confidence,” Dean said. “Chicago State is a pretty good team, but I think we were mentally stronger today, and we did a better job of taking care of the little things. I told the team after the match that I’d just like to bottle this weekend and use it for the rest of the year.”

The successful weekend now leaves the Falcons standing at 8-6 overall and 2-2 in MAC play.

The Falcons’ four-match home stand will continue next weekend as they will host Akron on Friday, April 11 and Buffalo Saturday, April 12. Both matches are scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. at Keefe Courts on the BG campus.