Bulldogs drop Aquinas in home match

FSU women’s tennis team gets back on track with 5-4 home victory over the Saints

BIG RAPIDS — It was home sweet home for the Ferris State women’s tennis team on Tuesday as the Bulldogs returned to the FSU Racquet and Fitness Center for the first time in almost a month with a 5-4 victory over Aquinas.

In doubles, the Bulldogs got 8-0 victories from their two doubles slot, Janie Sell and Sydney Berens, and their three doubles squad, made up of Rebecca Beloungea and Anne Smudz, going up 2-0 on Aquinas.

RETURN: FSU’s Janie Sell returns a serve in women’s tennis action on Tuesday against Aquinas. The Bulldogs won 5-4. (Pioneer Photo/Daine Pavloski)

RETURN: FSU’s Janie Sell returns a serve in women’s tennis action on Tuesday against Aquinas. The Bulldogs won 5-4. (Pioneer Photo/Daine Pavloski)

“We’ve been working a lot on the doubles,” Ferris State tennis coach Chad Berryhill said. “Sell and Berens, who play number two, have been doing a tremendous job all spring against all competition. I think they lost maybe twice this entire spring. They’re around 8-2 and they played well with an 8-0 win (Tuesday).

“(No. 3 doubles) did well, which was good because they were kind of getting beat up down there (during spring break),” he continued. “We played some tough competition, but for them to win 8-1 (Tuesday) was big. Doubles is so important because you’ve at least got to go up 2-1 off of doubles.”

The one doubles action wasn’t as clear cut as Ferris State’s Ana Jan and Gabrielle Demchenko had a long battle full of lengthy volleys with Laurie Ramey and Rilie Dushane that started with the Bulldogs jumping out to a lead. Aquinas fended off the early effort to pick up an 8-3 victory.

Even with the loss the Bulldogs went into singles action with a 2-1 overall advantage.

Jan continued to struggle for the Bulldogs at one singles, losing in straight sets to Ramey, 6-1 and 6-3, tying the total tally at 2-2.

The Bulldogs rallied back with straight-set singles wins from Beloungea at five singles and Sell at the three singles spot, giving the Bulldogs a 4-2 advantage, but Aquinas’ Kasey Jacobs answered by picking up a victory over the Bulldogs’ Smudz at six singles.

Aquinas got a win by default at four singles after FSU’s Berens wasn’t able to follow up her doubles win due to a nagging leg injury.

“It was good for Rebecca Beloungea at No. 5 to get a win, she’s a little bit inexperienced but she’s been battling hard all year,” Berryhill said. “Janie Sell has been doing great in singles this semester as well.”

With everything knotted up at 4-4, it all came down to the two singles slot.

Demchenko took on Aquinas’ Ariana Kabedian in a drawn-out, straight-set victory for the Bulldogs after a number of long volleys, giving Ferris State a 5-4 victory, snapping an eight-match losing streak and marking the Bulldogs’ first win since Sunday, Oct. 29 over Ashland.

“Gabby likes to make things interesting at No. 2,” Berryhill said. “But, she always battles and (Tuesday) she won the battle.”

The Bulldogs improve to 9-17-2 on the season and close out their spring season on April 13 as they welcome Lewis (Ill.) to town for a 10 a.m. meeting that will feature both men’s and women’s action.

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