Women’s Tennis: Cats finish road trip at Great Lake State

Rebecca Friedman

Coming off a nail-biting 4-3 victory over No. 18 Notre Dame, Northwestern (11-7, 4-1 Big Ten) looks to carry momentum into the state of Michigan this weekend.

The No. 14 Wildcats face off against Michigan State (8-8, 0-5) on Saturday in East Lansing,Mich., and then travel to Ann Arbor, Mich., on Sunday to battle No. 15 Michigan (12-5, 5-0).

“Notre Dame is a great team in the top 20 and it was a great win to pull out,” said junior Brittany Wowchuk, who clinched the match for the Wildcats in a three-set victory. “It gave everyone confidence and we’re looking forward to this weekend.”

Although other teams such as Nebraska, who beat NU 5-2 on March 25, have been incredibly relevant in this year’s Big Ten race, the Wolverines and Cats have been the primary conference competitors in the past.

Last season, lower-ranked NU edged out Michigan 4-3 in the Big Ten Conference final after falling to the Wolverines 6-1 earlier in the season. The Cats aim for another decisive victory over Michigan State after besting the Spartans 7-0 last season.

Michigan has had an incredibly successful season to date. The Wolverines also defeated the Fighting Irish by a score of 5-2. Michigan has not lost a conference match this season, but the Wolverines have yet to play Nebraska or NU.

Heading into the weekend, the Wildcats are looking for a better turnout in doubles after losing the point to Notre Dame. The doubles point has been a weak spot for the Cats all year.

Coach Claire Pollard said she has asked tennis colleagues why her team has not been able to find the success in doubles that it has in singles, but has not yet been able to solve the puzzle.

“We’re taking a positive approach towards it,” Wowchuk said. “We’re still able to win matches without the doubles point.”

Pollard acknowledged that based on the team’s ranking they’ve been having a successful season but said in general, the season has been a battle. She added that the Notre Dame victory was a huge boost for NU.

“The match was a shot in the arm for us,” Pollard said. “We needed to know that we were doing the right things and that it was paying off.”

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