Falcons jump into conference play


Jade Johnson, BG tennis player, returns a serve during the Falcons’ 7-0 victory against Northern Illinois this past weekend.

Reporter and Reporter

The Falcons started their in-conference schedule off on the right foot by picking up the victory over Northern Illinois with an easy 7-0 effort last Saturday, and they look to apply that same pressure on fellow Mid-American Conference schools from Buffalo and Akron this weekend.

Akron, the defending MAC champion, has started out with an impressive 15-2 record, with eight of those victories being shutouts, compared to BG’s two shutouts on the year. The Zips, however, fell to Miami this past weekend (3-4) and showcased to the MAC that Akron’s lineup is by no means unstoppable.

The RedHawks took down the top flight player and followed with victories in flights four through six. Scouting Akron, their doubles teams had no problem putting away Miami in sweeping all fights.

BG will have to take into account the No. 1 doubles team of Zara Harutyunyan and Prang Pantusart, who are currently ranked 80th nationally and improved to 15-0 on the year with their recent victory against Ball State.

The Zips have also won the doubles point in six straight contests and 15 of 17 overall matches this season. The Falcons are 6-4 on the season in gathering in the double point and 5-1 on the season when they accomplish the doubles point.

The Falcons will have to be on guard in second singles, as 16-year-old freshman Olga Shkundina is currently 15-1 in dual-match singles play this season (2-0 against MAC competitors.) BG, when shifting around players, is 6-4 in the second singles slot and should be able to put up a tough fight against Shkundina.

The Falcons should have an easier time with Buffalo as they have had a mediocre season so far, posting a 5-7 record and playing a poor 1-3 road record.

The Bulls will be easily targeted in flights two and three as their players have gone 4-8, gathering the point in each of those flights as a team. Emily Reuland has been in control of flight three this season, winning matches in seven of her 10 attempts.

Mary Hill, who has played all of the matches at the number four slot, should also have an easy effort beating her foe as Buffalo only stands 2-10 in that position.

The Falcons lead Buffalo 12-3 in the all-time series, and lead Akron 25-6 in that series, but the Zips have won four straight meetings.

The Falcons currently stand 5-5 in dual-match play, and Bowling Green holds steady in the top half at the conference with a 1-0 start.

The first match will start Friday at 1 p.m. against the Bulls, and the weekend series will conclude with the Falcons taking on the Zips Saturday at 1 p.m. The home series will take place on campus, and fans can make their way to Keefe Courts. The match may be scheduled to be moved to Perrysburg Tennis Center if inclement weather arises.