SIOUX FALLS, S.D. -- Northeastern State defeated Nebraska-Kearney 6-1 Saturday afternoon in the first round of the 2014 NCAA Division II championship at the Huether Tennis Centre.
The RiverHawks (22-5) ended the season for the Lopers (20-8) and will now face Augustana (S.D.) on May 4 in the NCAA second round. The Vikings defeated Emporia State 5-0 in the first round. The winner of Sunday's match will advance to the NCAA championship site, which is being held May 14-17 in Altamonte, Fla.
NSU started quick by taking two of the three doubles matches. Junior Barbora Jirickova and sophomore Kristina Savchenkov breezed past Kristin Weems and Emily Fink 8-0 on the second doubles court. Senior Martina Bruzikova and freshman Valeriia Efimenko fell behind 0-2 early but won the next eight games to take an 8-2 victory versus Vanessa Gunawan and Kari Emery at the top of the order.
UNK's lone point of the match came at No. 3 doubles, where Paula Jimenez and Renee Hoekstra topped senior Houda Bellamine and freshman Maria Lodge 9-7.
Efimenko was the first off court during doubles play after she quickly earned a 6-1, 6-1 decision against Fink on the fourth court. Savchenkov, ranked No. 17 in the nation in singles, defeated Gunawan 6-2, 6-3 at the top of the lineup to give NSU a fourth point.
Bellamine clinched the victory for the RiverHawks at No. 2 singles with a 6-3, 6-4 triumph against Weems.
Jirickova also wrapped up a 6-3, 6-1 victory over Britni Norfolk on the fifth court moments after Bellamine clinched the team victory. Norfolk was recently selected to the All-MIAA Singles First Team, while Jirickova was named All-MIAA Honorable Mention.