Women’s Tennis: Health, rest key for Northwestern heading into weekend

With No. 17 Kate Turvy nursing an injured back, the Wildcats’ main goals this week were resting up and getting healthy.

“We’re just beat up a little bit,” coach Claire Pollard said. “We’re lagging here and there – just some aches and pains.”

Turvy, who left Sunday’s match against Ohio State after doubles play due to tightness in her back, is a huge asset to the Cats, who have now won seven straight matches and 10 of their past 11 after knocking off Penn State and Ohio State last weekend.

Junior Linda Abu Mushrefova agreed staying healthy was the main goal for the team as a whole and said each player has her own individual skills to work on.

The seven-game win streak is the longest of the season for NU and is the 17th streak of seven wins or more under Pollard’s 13 years of leadership.

No. 29 Purdue visits Evanston on Friday, and the Cats wrap up the weekend and regular season conference play on Sunday at No. 47 Indiana.

The Boilermakers, with the third-best record in the conference, are 14-4 this season and 6-3 in Big Ten play. NU holds a 39-1 stranglehold on the all-time series against Purdue.

The Hoosiers are 4-5 in Big Ten play, losing three in a row. The series between NU and Indiana is closer than any other series between NU and a Big Ten opponent, with the Cats holding a 26-25 advantage over the Hoosiers.

The Cats have been working hard on their doubles play, a weakness earlier in the season. Their practice has paid off, as the team has won the doubles point in its past four matches. Abu Mushrefova and sophomore Veronica Corning, as well as Abu Mushrefova and sophomore Nida Hamilton, are ranked in the ITA’s top 100 for doubles pairings.

“We’ve just found ways to win and it’s finally paying off,” Abu Mushrefova said.

Despite two victories last weekend, the No. 12 Cats fell one spot in the ITA rankings. The lowest the Cats have been ranked all season was No. 15, while the highest was No. 8 in February. However, Nebraska’s loss to Michigan put NU in a first-place tie with Michigan for the Big Ten title. Both teams have 8-1 records, with Nebraska falling into a tie with Illinois for second.

“(We just need) to stay in a good place and work hard to finish out the season strong,” Abu Mushrefova said.

Senior Stacy Lee, the only senior on the Cats’ roster, will be honored Friday in NU’s last home match of the season for her play the past four years. Lee is 5-4 in singles play this season with one match left unfinished. She went 20-2 her freshman year and had a career-high 26 wins during her sophomore campaign. She went 20-13 last season with a 6-2 record in conference.

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