Women’s Tennis: Northwestern excited for home cooking

Ava Wallace

For the first time since spring break, the Wildcats will be playing matches on their own court.

Coming off a dominant weekend in which No. 11 Northwestern (13-7, 6-1 Big Ten) defeated No. 14 Michigan as well as Michigan State, the Cats will play No. 52 Penn State (11-7, 3-4) on Saturday and No. 61 Ohio State (8-12, 3-4) on Sunday.

“I’m very excited to be back at home,” junior Kate Turvy said. “We try to take pride in playing at home and really not let anyone come in and push us around.”

Turvy got some extra confidence this week when she was named the Big Ten’s Player of the Week for her performance last weekend. The 13th-ranked singles player went 5-1 last week in singles and doubles play combined, which included a straight-sets win over Michigan’s Emina Bektas, No. 10 in the nation.

“I think I have a lot of confidence right now,” Turvy said. “I feel like I’m playing pretty well, and more importantly we’re playing well as a team. The work we’ve been doing is starting to pay off.”

The Player of the Week was crucial to the Cats’ wins this past weekend. She and her former partner, sophomore Belinda Niu, were reunited for both matches and led a dominant doubles lineup, scoring impressive wins on Saturday and Sunday, 8-0, 8-2 respectively, to improve their record to 11-2 for the season.

In singles play, Turvy will likely face Penn State’s only ranked player in its lineup, No. 74 Petra Januskova, who is 15-3 for the season. Januskova has won her past two matches in the No. 1 spot against Wisconsin and Minnesota.

Januskova and her doubles partner, Chelsea Utting, ranked No. 84 as a pair and with a 9-4 record for the season, play the No. 1 doubles spot for Penn State.

NU is still working on stabilizing a doubles lineup, but after winning both doubles points last weekend, it is now focusing on bringing assertiveness to doubles play.

“Getting the doubles point did a lot for our confidence,” Turvy said. “I think we’re going to work on building on our momentum and keeping our confidence as a team.”

This past week the team took a couple of days off before returning to practice to work on individual game skills and solidifying doubles. They are looking forward to a nearly two-week travel-free stint.

No. 62 junior Brittany Wowchuk, also part of the commanding doubles lineup against Michigan and Michigan State with her partner sophomore Nida Hamilton, said the Cats will have to get off to a good start against Penn State to continue their win streak.

“We just want to take care of business and once again impose our game,” Wowchuk said. “We have to get started early again and really show them what we’re made of.”