Big Ten champs to start winter season

Nick Halpern

Instead of battling the stigma of being the underdog, the women’s tennis team has a very different challenge than most varsity teams at Northwestern. These Wildcats have to deal with the pressure that accompanies lofty expectations.

The Cats, winners of the last five Big Ten championships, open their season at home against Eastern Michigan on Saturday at noon.

“We’ve had (pressure) since I’ve been here,” senior Jessica Rush said. “It’s fun to be the underdog and succeed, but equally fun is the challenge of trying to keep the top spot.”

Playing for NU, ranked No. 14 in the country, provides plenty of visibility. But Rush and sophomore doubles partner Cristelle Grier now have an additional target on their back: the distinction of being the nation’s No. 1 ranked doubles team.