Women’s Tennis: NU extends Big Ten streak to 72

Bill Carey

Even with injury and illness preventing two of No. 1 Northwestern’s top players from competing in its full slate of games this weekend, the Wildcats had no trouble dismissing a pair of Big Ten opponents.

NU (20-1, 8-0 Big Ten) extended its conference winning streak to 72 games with 7-0 sweeps at Minnesota on Saturday and at Iowa on Sunday.

No. 46 Samantha Murray, the Cats’ No. 3 singles player, sat out both matches because of flu-like symptoms, while reigning Big Ten Player of the Week, No. 2 Maria Mosolova, skipped singles play against Iowa to rest a minor shoulder injury.

The wins helped NU finish off a road trip that started with a win over William & Mary in Williamsburg, Va. on Thursday.

“I was really pleased with the way the girls responded to a difficult trip,” said assistant coach Jackie Holden, who led the Cats this weekend. “There’s been a lot of traveling, but they’ve coped with it really well.”

NU found its rhythm early against Minnesota (9-11, 2-7), quickly winning all three doubles matches.

No. 14 Georgia Rose and Lauren Lui picked up an 8-3 win at the first doubles spot, ending a rough stretch in which they had lost four of their previous five matches.

“They’ve been struggling a little bit with confidence,” Holden said. “But they got off to a good start and just were able to keep their momentum and get the win.”

The Cats continued their dominance with straight-set wins in all six singles matches.

Mosolova grabbed a quick 6-1, 6-2 win at first singles, while freshman Elena Chernyakova picked up the second dual win of her career with a 6-0, 6-2 victory in the sixth slot.

NU concluded its trip with a shutout in blustery conditions Sunday against Iowa (7-13, 2-7).

Senior Keri Robison led the way for the Cats, picking up wins in both singles and doubles without dropping a game. No. 28 Robison and Mosolova combined for an 8-0 win in second doubles, while Robison added a 6-0, 6-0 win on her own in the fourth singles spot.

Robison rode the momentum from her doubles victory, breezing to a singles win in less than ideal conditions.

“Maria and I have been playing well in doubles, and that really gets me off to a good start,” Robison said. “The weather played a big part in everyone’s game. It was windy. It was cold. Luckily, it helps my game a little bit, because I like slicing, and it helps a lot being in the wind.”

The Cats picked up straight-set victories in five of the six singles matches.

No. 20 Rose picked up a 6-2, 6-3 win over No. 87 Sonja Molnar in the first singles spot, where she was filling in for the injured Mosolova.

After winning only two singles matches in March, Rose picked up her fourth win in five chances this month against the Hawkeyes.

“I was really pleased with how I played,” Rose said. “I’m finally getting back into a rhythm after a few disappointing losses. I gained a lot of confidence from this trip.”

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