Huskers Fall to Falcons in Home Opener
Lincoln, Neb., -- The Huskers fell to the Air Force Falcons on Saturday morning to open their 2019 season. Air Force won two out of the three doubles matches and three of the six singles matches to come away with a 4-3 victory.
The morning started off strong for NU with a win for Claire Reifeis and Hayley Haakenstad at the No. 2 doubles position. Reifeis and Haakenstad got out to a quick start and never looked back, picking up a 6-1 victory over Meredith Jones and Ashleigh Harvey.
At the No. 3 doubles spot, NU seniors Marina Cozac and Elizabeth Gould fell 6-2 to Meredith Laskey and Alex Kuo.
With the doubles matches tied at one, Nebraska’s Vasanti Shinde and Jessica Aragon led T.J. Fumagalli and Kristin Kerrigan 4-1. However, they could not maintain their momentum as the duo of Falcons came back to win 6-4 and take the doubles point for their team.
Air Force took a 2-0 lead after Kristin Kerrigan defeated junior Hayley Haakenstad, 6-1, 6-2 at the No. 4 singles spot. Shortly after, Nebraska’s Vasanti Shinde fell to T.J. Fumagalli at the No. 1 singles position, 6-1, 6-4.
Former DePaul transfer Marina Cozac put the Huskers on the board with a 6-1, 7-6 (5) victory over Meredith Jones at No. 3 singles. She led the second set 5-0 before Jones tied it up at six. Cozac was able to close it out in the tiebreaker to get her team on the board.
“I always try to stay positive and stay in the moment,” Cozac said. “I just tried to stay tough and compete for every point, even when she was making a run. I was happy to come out with a win.”
Indianapolis, Ind., native Claire Reifeis cut the Air Force lead to 3-2 after coming from behind to defeat Elizabeth Barnickel 4-6, 6-4, 6-2. The junior responded to adversity after falling behind early but found her groove towards the end of the first set.
“You can never doubt yourself in those situations when you get down,” Reifeis said. “Air Force is a really tough opponent and they have some talented players. I know we’ll bounce back from this.”
Jeannie Lozowski, a junior from Port St. Lucie, Fla., battled hard but fell just short in a 2-6, 7-5, 4-6 match against Nadeen Lieberman at No. 6 singles.
True freshman Jessica Aragon won her first career spring singles match as a Husker, defeating Ashley Harvey 5-7, 6-4, 7-5. Aragon competed in the No. 5 doubles spot for NU.
Results vs. Air Force:
1. T.J. Fumagalli (AF) def. Vasanti Shinde (NEB), 6-1, 6-4
2. Claire Reifeis (NEB) def. Elizabeth Barnickel (AF), 4-6, 6-4, 6-2
3. Marina Cozac (NEB) def. Meredith Jones (AF), 6-1, 7-6 (5)
4. Kristin Kerrigan (AF) def. Hayley Haakenstad (NEB), 6-1, 6-2
5. Jessica Aragon (NEB) Ashleigh Harvey (AF), 5-7, 6-4, 7-5
6. Nadeen Lieberman (AF) def. Jeannie Lozowski (NEB), 6-2, 5-7, 6-4
Order of Finish: Doubles (2,3,1); Singles (4,1,3,2,6,5)
The Huskers take on the Creighton Bluejays at 2:45 p.m. inside the Dillon Tennis Center.
Next weekend, they’ll travel east to play Old Dominion and the winner of Duke and Gonzaga at Duke University in Durham, N.C.