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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NU Secures Perfect Big Ten Record (Women’s Tennis)

By Brian ReganThe Daily Northwestern

For the last nine years, the Big Ten has been Northwestern’s play toy, even if the team had downplayed its expectations coming into this season.

“If you told me at the beginning of the year that we would be 18-4 and have a perfect Big Ten record,” coach Claire Pollard said, “I’d be really, really happy.”

And that is exactly where the Wildcats stand after Sunday’s win against Michigan State

The No. 7 Cats (18-4, 10-0 Big Ten) downed the Spartans 7-0 to claim their seventh Big Ten regular season crown in nine years, as well as earn their third straight perfect conference season.

Michigan State (12-11, 2-8 Big Ten) became NU’s sixth sweep victim in 10 conference matches.

“It was a great team effort,” Pollard said. “I’ve asked a lot from our younger kids, freshmen like Sam Murray and Lauren Lui, and they always step up to the challenge.”

Now that the regular season is concluded, the Cats can check off one of their preseason goals and gun for another: becoming Big Ten champions for the ninth-straight year.

But even the current success is great for a program that was supposed to be in a rebuilding year this season.

“We brought in four new players this year and we could have had every excuse not to do as well as we did last year,” said sophomore Georgia Rose, referring to last season’s No. 5 finish. “But we went out and did the opposite.”

Even with Rose – its top player – out of the lineup, NU entered the match with optimism and determination.

The Cats swept all the doubles matches with 8-6 wins led by the No. 1 tandem of Keri Robison and Lui, who improved to 13-1 on the year and won their fourth straight at the top position.

NU has won 11 of its last 12 doubles matches.

Murray claimed her third win in four tries at the No. 1 spot, defeating Michigan State’s Christine Bader 6-2, 7-5.

The rest of the team followed suit, winning all six singles matches, even if some needed a little grit to come away with the victories.

Senior Alexis Prousis buckled down at No. 2 after losing the second set to win 10-6 in the super-tiebreaker, giving her a 6-0, 4-6, 1-0 win.

Lui and sophomore Nazlie Ghazal extended their winning streaks to nine matches each.

For the second time in a week, freshman Suzie Matzenauer blanked her opponent at No. 6.

Since returning to the lineup last Saturday, the freshman has dropped only eight games in eight sets while winning all four of her matches.

All this success may make it hard for Pollard to choose a lineup when Rose comes back after a week of rest.

“Depth is an important quality to have in order to win an NCAA championship and we have a good dilemma right now,” Pollard said. “This is the deepest team we’ve had and everyone, especially in the middle of our lineup has played well down the stretch and they’ve played their spots consistently and tough.”

With next week’s Big Ten tournament and Rose’s return on the horizon, the team is getting ready for high-caliber tennis.

“It’s always exciting,” Rose said. “Since we went undefeated all these teams want to get a win over us.”

Reach Brian Regan at [email protected].

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Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881
NU Secures Perfect Big Ten Record (Women’s Tennis)