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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Women’s Tennis: Cats season ends vs. undefeated Cardinal

By the time No. 16 Northwestern’s match against No. 1 Stanford got underway in Palo Alto, Calif., most people in the Midwest were likely asleep. The Wildcats, no strangers to poor weather condition interfering with their matches, had their start time delayed more than two hours due to rain.

Unfortunately for NU, the weather only delayed the inevitable.

The Cats (22-8) fell to the undefeated Cardinal (26-0) 4-2 on Friday, snapping a six-match winning streak and dropping out of the NCAA Tournament in the Round of 16.

Stanford, the defending national champion, extended its winning streak to 45 games and allowed an opponent to take more than one team point for just the thirteenth time since last February.

“We played a great match against Stanford,” coach Claire Pollard said, “came out and played a really good doubles point, really set the tone for us. Then in singles, they just outplayed us at the top. In the bottom we did a really good job of hanging around, fighting, losing first sets and coming back, and really pushed them. We played some great tennis, and they were just slightly better than us.”

NU opened the match with shaky play in the critical doubles matches. The No. 2 team of senior Maria Mosolova and freshman Belinda Niu and the No. 3 team of sophomore Brittany Wochuck and junior Elena Chernyakova both fell to a 4-1 deficit to start the matches. Both lines would rebound, rallying past their opponents and securing the doubles point for the Cats.

Stanford showed its dominance in singles play, however. NU dropped first sets in five of their six singles matches and could not find a way to recover. Wowchuck fell first 6-1 6-2 and was followed quickly by Niu, who lost 6-1 6-4.

At the No. 1 spot, Mosolova dropped her match for only the third time all season, as she was unable to find an answer for No. 3 Hilary Barte, falling 6-4 6-1.

The lone bright spot for the Cats came from sophomore Kate Turvy, who wrapped up her No. 4 singles match with ease at 6-3 6-3. Despite the win, NU could not hold off Stanford at the final two spots, and eventually succumbed to the Cardinal 4-2.

Despite her team’s resilient performance against the Cardinal, Pollard said the loss still stung.

“It was tough for our kids to finish the year playing great tennis,” Pollard said. “If we play great tennis like that and can build upon what happened on Thursday, that hopefully the girls work hard over the summer, and it will lead us to the next year.”

With the team now out, the Cats turn their attention to the NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships. Mosolova and the pair of freshman Nida Hamilton and sophomore Linda Abu Mushrefova will represent NU in singles and doubles. For Pollard, however, part of the focus has already shifted to next season.

“We’ll sit down with the girls. Jackie (assistant coach Jackie Holden) and I will evaluate the things that we’re doing well and the things we need to do better,” Pollard said. “Hopefully the girls will give themselves a good evaluation. The experience this team got, we are young and we really grew up as a team and finished the year a lot better than we started. Hopefully next year that will happen even more, we can build upon that, and have an even better year.”

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Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881
Women’s Tennis: Cats season ends vs. undefeated Cardinal