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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Cats Pull Off Upset (Women’s Tennis)

By Brian ReganThe Daily Northwestern

Northwestern didn’t have to wait long to avenge its 4-3 defeat to No. 2 Notre Dame.

Nearly two months after losing to the Fighting Irish in the semifinals of the ITA Indoor Championships, the Wildcats coasted to a 5-2 victory Friday in Evanston.

The No. 9 Cats then mixed up their lineup, resting Rose, and proceded to beat a pair of Big Ten opponents to complete the weekend sweep with 5-2 wins over Notre Dame, Minnesota and Iowa.

“(Notre Dame) was a really good win for us,” Rose said. “We had a good doubles point and everyone gave their best and it turned out we really dominated.”

Rose played in only the Notre Dame match, but she made the most of it, winning in both doubles and singles.

Rose and partner Alexis Prousis cruised to an 8-1 victory against twins Christian and Catrina Thompson, the No. 8 doubles pair in the nation.

NU (16-4, 8-0 Big Ten) picked up the doubles point, but No. 2 team Keri Robison and Lauren Lui had their eight-match winning streak come to an end with an 8-6 loss.

The pair was broken to fall into a 1-0 hole and couldn’t get the break back as both teams held serve until the Irish broke the duo to win the match.

In singles, Rose fell behind No. 26 Catrina Thompson early, but after going down 3-2, she cruised to win the set and the match, 6-3, 6-2.

At No. 2, freshman Samantha Murray crushed the other Thompson sister both by utilizing her height at the net and converting an off-balance backhand into a cross-court winner to get the crowd back into her match and help the Cats prevail over the Irish (22-2).

Against Minnesota (10-9, 3-5) the Cats shuffled their lineup and gave other players opportunities to shine in Rose’s absence.

Freshman Suzie Matzenauer paired up with Prousis at No. 2 doubles, winning 8-2. Matzenauer also stepped in at No. 6 singles and cruised to a double-bagel win.

Robison and Lui moved into the No. 1 slot and didn’t let their loss the day before play with their minds, winning 8-4.

“We didn’t think too much about (playing No. 1), we were just playing our match out there,” Lui said. “(Georgia) being out gave us a lot of opportunities to step up and proves we can do very well without her.”

The team also honored Prousis in a Senior Day ceremony during its final home match of the season Sunday. In between the doubles and singles competition against Iowa (9-9, 5-3), Pollard spoke about how much the Cats’ lone senior, and half of the 2006 NCAA-winning doubles team, has meant to the team.

“She was the first high-profile local recruit we were able to get,” Pollard said, “and now she has done so many things for this program. She really does bleed purple.”

Prousis started the day again paired with Matzenauer, but fell 8-3 to Iowa’s Merel Beelen and Hillary Mintz.

Things got interesting at No. 1 doubles when, down 7-6, Lui and Robison buckled down to stave off four match points to save the doubles point for the Cats.

On the first match point, Robison saved the day with a running forehand winner, putting the fire back into the match.

Later in the game, Lui came up huge at the net for the team. On the third match point, she laid a touch volley just over the net, and on the next point hit a cross-court winner.

After holding serve, the team broke Iowa, and Lui served for the 9-7 win.

“The game was very nerve-wracking,” Lui said. “It was tight and I missed some easy (shots), but Keri pulled me through with some good serves.”

The rest of the match proved more difficult than the Cats expected.

Lui won her first set at No. 3 singles 6-0, but went down 0-3 in the second, and despite a surge to tie at 4-4, her opponent won and forced the a third set, which Lui won 6-4.

With Rose out, Samantha Murray played No. 1. Despite winning the first set, she lost the match 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 to Iowa’s Jacqueline Lee.

“I feel grateful we survived,” Pollard said. “Iowa gave us everything we could

handle.”

Prousis’ loss to Iowa was her first home dual loss against a Big Ten opponent in her four seasons – it was also the last regular season home match of her career.

With the festivities out of the way, Prousis said she can look forward to the tournaments and defending her NCAA title.

“It was a great four years,” Prousis said. “I can’t imagine being anywhere else for it.”

Reach Brian Regan at [email protected].

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Cats Pull Off Upset (Women’s Tennis)