Women’s Tennis: Wildcats shine in the sun

Cleyana Mayweather

No. 1 Northwestern continued its domination of Big Ten opponents this weekend in its season debut outdoors at the Vandy Christie Tennis Center in Evanston.

With victories over No. 29 Ohio State (16-3, 3-1 Big Ten) on Saturday and No. 28 Indiana (15-5, 5-1) on Sunday, the Wildcats have now won 13 straight matches this season. Even more impressive, NU (18-1, 5-0) has not lost a Big Ten dual match in their last 55 tries dating back to 2004.

“I think we did a good job (this weekend) and we dominated, but we still have a few things to work on,” coach Claire Pollard said. “Ohio State and Indiana competed well against us, but we managed to get two wins.”

Ohio State and Indiana are both ranked in the top 30 in the country, but the Cats made them look much worse than their ranking.

Coming into its match against NU, Ohio State had won its last six matches and 11 of its last 12. But against the Cats, the Buckeyes were unable to take a single match, as NU took the dual in a 7-0 sweep.

The Cats started off hot, winning the doubles point easily. At No. 1, sophomores Lauren Lui and Samantha Murray won convincingly 8-1. The tandem of junior Nazlie Ghazal and freshman Maria Mosolova surrendered only one more game than Lui and Murray, as they won their doubles match 8-2 at No. 3.

A rash of double faults by junior Georiga Rose and senior Alexis Conill allowed Ohio State to get back in the match at No. 2. The Buckeyes won four straight games before ultimately losing the match 8-5.

In singles, NU continued its domination. At No. 1, Mosolova crushed her opponent, 6-1, 6-1.

“I never want to lose a set, and this goal helps me play better,” Mosolova said.

Rose won her match 6-0, 6-3, defeating the Buckeyes’ Paloma Escobedo at the No. 2 spot. Murray also defeated her opponent in straight sets, 6-1, 6-0.

Lui improved her record at the No. 4 position to 16-0 with a 6-4, 6-3 win over the Buckeyes’ Cami Hubbs.

“Every team that comes in here, I try to give them a lot of respect,” Lui said. “I know they are going to come out swinging because they have nothing to lose, so I try to stay focused and concentrated.”

Ghazal won her seventh consecutive dual of the season with a 6-2, 6-3 victory.

And Keri Robison got in on the action with her first dual victory of the season when she came back to win 6-7 (3-7), 6-3, 1-0 (10-1) after dropping a hard-fought first set in a tiebreaker.

“It was really nice to get her in (the action), and all credit to her because she looked a little rusty but played her way through to a superbreaker to win the match,” Pollard said. “She played really well in the superbreaker and I was really pleased for her.”

NU once again brought its ‘A’ game against Indiana on Sunday. Coming into the match, the Hoosiers were undefeated in the Big Ten, but that changed when they met the more talented Cats.

NU took the doubles point, as the team of Rose and Conill did not allow Indiana to grab a single game with an 8-0 victory at the No. 2 spot.

In the No. 3 position, the tandem of Ghazal and Mosolova took their doubles match 8-2. The No. 1 doubles match featuring Murray and Lui was back-and-forth to the finish, but the Cats ultimately lost 8-7 (7-5).

In singles, the first match finished was Suzie Matzenauer’s. The sophomore, who was back in the lineup after sitting out the match against Ohio State because of an illness, picked up a 6-2, 6-2 win at the No. 6 spot.

Following Matzenauer’s lead, NU took care of its opponents quickly, as it won four of the remaining five matches in straight sets.

The only blemish on the day for the Cats was Murray’s lost to Indiana’s Charlotte Martin at the No. 3 spot. Though Murray lost, she went down swinging. The sophomore came from behind in the first set only to lose 6-7, but she rebounded with an impressive 6-1 second set victory. In the deciding superbreaker, Murray lost a seesaw battle 10-12.

Murray’s loss only changed the margin of victory for the Cats; the 6-1 win left the team perfect in conference halfway through the Big Ten season.

With all the recent dominating victories some teams might lose their concentration, but NU is committed to staying focused.

“It is easier to lose and it is harder to win, so if we keep reminding ourselves of that we will be fine,” Pollard said.

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