Blue Demons Stay Perfect At Home, Top No. 63 Akron
CHICAGO - All season the No. 26 DePaul women's tennis team has looked to its seniors for leadership and on Senior Day - Kirsten Gambrell, Anna Redecsi and Sandra Zmak shined and helped the Blue Demons to an impressive 6-1 win over a previously undefeated Akron team. The win is the fifth straight for DePaul and the Blue Demons improve to 14-3 while Akron drops to 15-1.
"I am so proud of our team today," DePaul head coach Mark Ardizzone said following his team's hard fought victory. "This is one of our best performances of the season and it came against a very good Akron team."
Looking to defeat their sixth ranked team of the season, the Blue Demons got off to a quick start in doubles action. Katarina Milinkovic and Zmak were the first to finish as the Blue Demon pair improved to 4-1 when they overtook Angelina Jogasuria and Anya Baronayte 8-2 in the number two position.
DePaul's No. 12 pair of Selma Salkovic and Redecsi notched their fifth straight win with a dominating 8-0 victory over Angelinka Jogasiria and Prang Pantusart. Salkovic and Redecsi improve to 25-5 on the season, while the pair has won 11 of its last 12.
With the doubles point already in hand, Gia McKnight and Kirsten Gambrell topped Jeremie Benjamin and Zara Hartutyunyan 8-7 (3) to sweep the doubles matches and give the Blue Demons all the momentum heading into singles action.
Like a good senior, Gambrell gave DePaul a 2-0 lead with dominating 6-0, 6-3 win over Benjamin in the number six position.
"Kirsten epitomizes what I believe a DePaul women's tennis player is - she is a hard worker and then keeps on improving her game by working harder."
"She is a gritty competitor and I am so happy that she got a win today and really helped us start singles play on a high note," Ardizzone added.
Needing two more wins for the victory, Zmak topped Pantusart 6-3, 6-0 in the fourth match before Milinkovic clinched the Blue Demon win with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Angelika Jogasuria in the third spot.
With the victory in hand the Blue Demons continued to battle as Salkovic picked up a 6-2, 6-4 win in the number two position.
Akron notched its only win of the day in the fifth match before all eyes went to the first court where Redecsi was taking on her 10th ranked opponent of the season and had pushed the match to a third set.
Redecsi pushed Hartutyunyan, who had won her last 15 matches and is ranked No. 80 in the county, to her limit. Hartutyunyan took the first set 6-3, but Redecsi heated up and took the second set 6-2 and won the match with a 6-4 third set victory.
"Anna has played such a challenging schedule and I am so proud of her whenever she gets a win," Ardizzzone said of his senior who is now 3-7 against players ranked in the top-80.
"Playing at number one, Anna gets the best player on the opposing team's roster. She will graduate having played the toughest singles schedule of any DePaul player," Ardizzone added of his senior who is now 17-14 on the season.
Akron was DePaul's final nonconference match before playing three-consecutive BIG EAST Conference matches before the league Championship April 22-24 at Notre Dame.
The Blue Demons travel to Milwaukee, Wis., on Sunday for a neutral site match with Rutgers. The first serve is scheduled for 9 a.m. at Marquette's Helfaer Tennis Stadium.
No. 26 DePaul 6, No. 63 Akron 1