Women’s Tennis: No. 11 NU posts flawless Spring Break trips

Dan Ryan

For its Spring Break, No. 11 Northwestern did some traveling – and came back without dropping a single match in its two dual meets.

The Wildcats beat UC Santa Barbara 4-0 to wrap up their spring training trip before returning home and sweeping conference foe Wisconsin 7-0 to open their Big Ten schedule.

In the Santa Barbara meet, the main focus for NU was the adjustment from indoor to outdoor tennis, a transition senior Maria Mosolova said can be difficult.

“It was definitely nice to play against Santa Barbara because it was our first match outdoors so it was a little different,” Mosolova said. “We had to make sure when you’re playing against the wind or with the wind you had to take all that into consideration.”

The setting did not seem to have too much of an impact on the team, however. Against UC Santa Barbara, Mosolova recorded a 6-2 6-1 victory at the No. 1 singles spot. Freshman Belinda Niu followed up Mosolova’s performance with a 6-1 7-6 victory at No. 2 singles as the Cats easily took care of their opponent.

“We weren’t really used to the conditions, but we definitely competed well,” Niu said.

Against Wisconsin, the Cats were perfectly in their element. As at Santa Barbara, Mosolova and Niu led the way at No. 1 and No. 2 singles, earning 6-1 6-2 and 6-1 6-1 victories. Sophomore Katie Turvy followed suit with a 6-4 6-2 win at No. 3 singles.

NU had a little bit more trouble in their doubles matches, but the No. 1 line, composed of sophomore Linda Abu Mushrefova and freshman Nida Hamilton, led the way with an 8-5 victory. The No. 2 line of Mosolova and junior Elena Chernyakova earned an 8-4 victory of their own, and Niu and Turvy finished off the sweep with an 8-6 win on the No. 3 line.

“I thought it was a good match overall. We got what we expected,” Mosolova said. “I thought Wisconsin competed pretty well against us, they had nothing really to lose. We just came out here trying to play our best and work on some of the things that we’ve been working on.”

With the Big Ten season now under way, coach Claire Pollard said it’s important for the team to pick up where it left off Winter Quarter.

“We looked really good toward the end of the quarter. I was pleased with where we were headed,” Pollard said. “And then we just got to get that momentum back. It’s kind of hard. Reading Week and Finals Week is one of the toughest times of the year as a coach. You just don’t know how to handle it. You don’t know whether to make them just push through, and they’re stressed with school. But hopefully we’ve handled it well and we’re back in a routine.”

Continuing their Big Ten schedule this weekend, the Cats will travel to Ohio State to face the Buckeyes before taking on the Nittany Lions at Penn State.

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