Ranked Wildcats open season with easy victory over Eastern Michigan

Nick Halpern

It was business as usual Saturday for the Northwestern women’s tennis team.

No. 14 NU opened the season by sweeping Eastern Michigan, winning all nine matches in front of a spirited audience at Combe Tennis Center.

The Cats got off to a fast start in doubles, led by sophomore Cristelle Grier and senior Jessica Rush, the No. 1 doubles team in the nation. They faced only two game-points, and easily won the match 8-0.

“I just tried to take advantage of Cristelle’s depth and power on her groundstrokes,” Rush said. “That makes moving at the net easier.”

Sophomore Alexis Prousis and freshman Jamie Peisel, the second doubles team, were knotted with their Eagles opponents at three games apiece, but won the remaining games to take the set 8-3. Junior Andrea Yung and senior Connie Chiang dispatched the Eagles more easily, winning 8-2 at third doubles.

“We did a good job of attacking,” Chiang said. “We got off to a good start right away, and we stayed fired up.”

The singles matches offered slightly more drama, but no match went the full three sets. Grier took on Victoria Domina in the day’s marquee match. Grier’s win in the first set was closer than the 6-2 score indicated, but she dominated the second set, winning 6-1.

“I had the advantage of having the first set under my belt,” Grier said. “I was just trying to find my groove.”

Prousis defeated Kendra Clark in a tiebreaker in the first set and finished her off in the second to win 7-6 (5), 6-3. To chants of “J. P.,” Peisel rallied from a 3-1 deficit in the second set to defeat Ying Kansuthi 6-2, 7-5.

About 148 people were on hand for the match.

“It always helps to have fan support,” Yung said.

“For opening matches, most people put someone on the schedule they expect to beat,” coach Claire Pollard said. “But overall I was pleased with our performance.”