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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Rose Sits Out, Wildcats Still Cruise (Women’s Tennis)

By Brian ReganThe Daily Northwestern

Northwestern moved one step closer to finishing its conference schedule undefeated with a 7-0 victory over Ohio State on Wednesday.

The No. 7 Wildcats (17-4, 9-0 Big Ten) won all nine matches without dropping a set to the Buckeyes (17-8, 5-3).

“It was a good feeling,” freshman Suzie Matzenauer said. “We definitely worked our hardest out there and it was good to be out playing.”

The match was originally scheduled for April 7, but was postponed due to travel difficulties. While the Wednesday match was a hiccup in NU’s schedule, coach Claire Pollard said the players didn’t mind.

“I don’t think it is a big deal,” Pollard said. “It breaks up the week and we are sort of practiced out. Plus the girls would rather compete at this point in the year.”

With sophomore Georgia Rose out of the lineup for the third consecutive match, NU used the same roster that enjoyed success last weekend.

Sophomore Keri Robison and freshman Lauren Lui continued their domination in doubles, winning 8-5 at the No. 1 spot to move to 11-1 on the year.

Robison and Lui played exclusively at No. 2 during the dual season until last weekend, when they moved up a spot and won both of their matches.

“We weren’t really expecting it and we’ve been lucky that it turned out the way it has,” Robison said. “We’ve always been under the spotlight and (playing at No. 1) gave us a lot of confidence. Even if we lose a couple of games here and there, we were still able to win.”

The Cats picked up the doubles point on the strength of their depth, dropping even fewer games at Nos. 2 and 3.

Matzenauer and senior Alexis Prousis improved to 2-1 together at No. 2 with an 8-4 victory, while the No. 3 team of Samantha Murray and Alexis Conill cleaned up to get the sweep.

In singles, Murray led the charge at No. 1 with a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Ohio State’s Julie Blackmore for her second win at the top position after dropping two matches last weekend.

“She’s played well,” Pollard said. “After last weekend I told her, ‘Don’t be caught up in wins and losses. You stepped up and had big shoes to fill,’ and it paid dividends for her to win today.”

At No. 2, Prousis cruised to a 6-2, 6-3 victory after dropping her final Big Ten home match against Iowa on Sunday.

Prousis’ win was her second at No. 2 during the dual season after primarily playing at No. 3.

Lui and sophomore Nazlie Ghazal’s singles results have been barometers for the Cats over the team’s eight-match win streak. Lui and Ghazal each extended their singles win streaks to eight matches against Ohio State with wins at No. 3 and No. 5, respectively.

Lui and Ghazal have a combined record of 33-9 in dual matches on the season.

Both Robison and Matzenauer also picked up straight-set victories to complete the sweep of the Buckeyes.

Now the only thing that stands in the way of a perfect Big Ten season is a match against Michigan State on Saturday.

The Wildcats have had a perfect record in the Big Ten in each of the last two seasons and have not lost a match to a conference opponent since Illinois beat them 4-3 in April 2004.

“(A perfect conference season) would be a nice,” Matzenauer said. “At the beginning of the season we made goals and going undefeated in the Big Ten was one of them and I hope we stick with it.”

Not even an oddly scheduled midweek match and Rose’s absence could deter the Cats from pursuing their goal.

“It’s a sign of a good team if you lose someone and still play very well,” Pollard said. “We have so many great options that we can still play at a high level even without Georgia.”

Reach Brian Regan at [email protected].

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Rose Sits Out, Wildcats Still Cruise (Women’s Tennis)