Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern


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Defending Champions Trying To Make It No. 9 (Women’s Tennis)

By Brian ReganThe Daily Northwestern

Northwestern’s spirits may have been dashed after Sunday’s 4-3 loss to No. 7 North Carolina, but the only teams the Wildcats have lost to so far this season have been top-10 programs, and all were close 4-3 matches.

Up-and-coming star Georgia Rose has flown under the radar nationally in the past month, but has been racking up impressive victories match after match and her only loss this year is to the No. 1 player in the country, former NU star Audra Cohen. This past week Rose punished the seventh-ranked player, 6-0, 6-2 for her fourth-straight victory over a top-50 opponent.

“We really want to see her become a top-10, top-5 player,” coach Claire Pollard said. “But since she missed last fall due to injury, we’ll have to see if she has enough matches to get the ranking.”

This is going to be Rose’s team for the next couple of years. Of the top six singles players, only one (senior Alexis Prousis) is older than a sophomore.

Though the Cats only have two upperclassmen, Prousis and junior Alexis Conill, out of nine players, both can provide the leadership the team needs to succeed.

It’s not like either is washed-up. Prousis won the NCAA doubles title with now-graduated Cristelle Grier last season and won’t expect anything less this year.

Losing three out of its last five matches has only strengthened the team’s resolve to push down the stretch.

“Maybe with a younger team they have taken the losses harder than an older team,” Pollard said. “But we have had more losses at this point in the past than we do now and we still went on to do great things.”

The early adversity has set seeds for growth and has shown the younger players that despite losing, they can play with the best players and schools in the country.

They will need to keep growing their abilities to improve on what may have been their best effort in recent history last season, when the Cats made it to the final eight in the NCAA tournament.

Provided injuries don’t plague the team down the stretch, this squad has what it takes to go deep in the NCAA tournament both as a team and individually with players like Rose and Prousis leading the charge.

In the next two weeks the team faces No. 23 Michigan and No. 13 William & Mary and a slew of conference opponents, which are necessary to beat to win the team’s ninth consecutive Big Ten crown this spring.

“William & Mary beat (then-No. 1) Georgia Tech, and Michigan on the road is never easy,” Pollard said. “And you can’t look over the rest of the Big Ten because they are sick of us winning it every year and are looking for an upset.”

Reach Brian Regan at [email protected].

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Defending Champions Trying To Make It No. 9 (Women’s Tennis)