Tennis — Northwestern State sweeps Nicholls to win outright Southland Conference title

NATCHITOCHES – Northwestern State set its sights on a Southland Conference regular season title, and the Lady Demons didn’t waste any time Saturday against Nicholls.

NSU rushed to a 7-0 sweep in under two-and-a-half hours to raise its first regular season championship since 2014.

The Lady Demons (13-4, 6-0 SLC) didn’t drop a set in singles as the program completed its second perfect season in its SLC history. NSU finished 11-0 in 2010, the last time the Lady Demons were outright champions.

NSU won its fifth SLC title overall, posting 2022 next to 1989, 1994, 2010 and 2014. The Lady Demons won a Gulf Star title in 1986.

“I loved the way the girls competed today, and for senior Pati Polanska to clinch it on Senior Day, it’s like it’s out of a book,” said second-year NSU head coach Jonas Brobeck. “We found a way at every spot, and I’m super duper proud of this group.

“After finding a way to win that UNO match on the road (in the second weekend), something clicked and we started to get all six girls competing super hard. We’re tough to beat when we compete and fight like that, fight like Lady Demons.”

The day started with the celebration of lone senior Patrycja Polanska, who will end her home college career Tuesday vs. Louisiana Tech.

Polanska chalked up her 25th career singles win as she handled Constanza Cruz for the clinching point (6-2, 6-3).

“I’m feeling all the emotions right now – happy, excited and can’t wait for the SLC Tournament,” Polanska said. “I’m thankful for this team.

“We were all fighting together. I didn’t realize I was the clinching point because I was focused on my match, and I wanted to win and give the team the most energy I had.”

Off the court, Polanska was instrumental in melding together the three freshmen (Rozalie Dohnalova, Tjasa Klevisar and Ayu Ishibashi) with more experienced pieces like herself and sophomores Mariella Minetti and Viktorie Wojcikova.

“Every match we were fighting and doing out best, and we have a very good connection on and off the court,” Polanska said. “We’re always giving each other energy in practice and making each other better. We’ve done a great job of improving throughout the season.”

The ball started rolling Saturday as NSU crashed the doubles point with a 6-1 win from Dohnalova/Wojcikova over Nicholls Jesse Mount/Laura Lopez and a 6-2 take from Minetti/Klevisar against Carla Bouygues/Cruz.

The only match NSU didn’t win was at No. 3 doubles with Polanska/Ishibashi trailing 5-3 against Sophia Sara Safarova/Morgan Forshag when the point was clinched.

NSU has claimed the last nine doubles points while dropping just one match.

Klevisar picked up her fourth straight singles win with a 6-3, 6-1 decision over Safarova to push NSU’s edge to 2-0.

The Lady Demons quickly closed the next two points as Polanska and Minetti finished off their opponents.

Minetti won her eighth straight singles match with a 6-4, 6-3 victory against Jesse Mount.

NSU tacked on the final three points with wins from Ishibashi, Dohnalova and Wojcikova.

Ishibashi handled Laura Lopez (6-1, 6-2), Dohnalova defeated Simona Maksimovic (6-4, 6-3) and Wojcikova outlasted Carla Bouygues 7-6 (4), 6-4.

Ishibashi (eight straight) and Wojcikova (seven straight) also extended lengthy singles winning streaks.

NSU will finish the regular season Tuesday against Louisiana Tech, hosting the Lady Techsters in a 2:30 p.m. match before turning its attention to the Southland Conference Tournament.

The Lady Demons secured the No. 1 seed in the tournament, which runs April 22-24 at UNO.