William & Mary struck from ‘hit list’

Nick Halpern

In its first real test of the season, the Northwestern women’s tennis team got a chance to serve up some revenge.

The No. 14 Wildcats trampled William and Mary on Sunday in Williamsburg, Va., handing the national powerhouse its second loss of the weekend. After losing to the Tribe (2-2) each of the past two seasons, NU (2-0) dominated the match from the outset, clinching the meet early and going on to win 5-2.

“They were on our hit list,” coach Claire Pollard said. “That’s one down.”

The Wildcats got off to a good start in doubles, taking 2-of-3 matches. The nation’s No. 1 doubles team of sophomore Cristelle Grier and senior Jessica Rush defended its ranking against No. 11 Megan Muth and Amy Wei, winning 8-3.

NU’s second doubles team of freshman Alexis Prousis and sophomore Jamie Peisel lost 8-7. At the No. 3 spot, NU’s Connie Chiang and junior Andrea Yung stayed undefeated on the season with an 8-4 victory over Emily Mowery and Lingda Yang to secure the doubles point.

“I thought we should have swept the doubles,” Pollard said. “We were grateful to get out with the doubles point — it’s a nice start.”

NU got a fast start in the singles matches, as Grier, No. 4 in the nation, never let No. 76 Muth into the match, easily winning in straight sets, 6-0, 6-1.

“It was a good match,” Grier said. “It was very clean — I just got off to a quick start.”

Prousis also won her singles match quickly against Kate Boomershine to claim a 3-0 lead for NU.

After a tight first set, No. 36 Rush clinched the match at the No. 2 singles spot for the Cats with her 6-4, 6-0 victory to put NU up 4-0. Yung met doubles nemesis Mowery in singles, and put an exclamation point on the Cats’ victory with a straight-set victory, 6-2, 6-4.

“Sometimes you can get off to a good start and then kind of relax and let them back in,” Pollard said. “But we didn’t do that today. I thought we were in total control the whole way through it.

“We had so much momentum that the matches they were doing well in were (nullified).”

The defeat at the hands of the Cats punctuated a disappointing weekend for the Tribe, who lost a close match to No. 27 Texas on Saturday after starting its season with two easy victories.

The Cats were not starry-eyed against a top team despite the youth of the roster. Of the top six singles players, only Rush and Ruth Barnes, No. 6 on the team, are seniors.

“It’s very gratifying for the team,” Pollard said. “It’s a good win early on in the season.”

On Sunday, however, they were just happy to finally beat the team that has had their number the last two meetings.

“We’ve all heard the stories for a couple years now,” Grier said.