Women’s Tennis: Northwestern loses to Texas, bounces back against Baylor

Alex Putterman, Reporter

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The Wildcats split a pair of weekend dual meets, beating and losing to top-20 teams at Evanston’s Combe Tennis Center.

On Friday, No. 9 Northwestern (6-4) lost to No. 14 Texas (3-3) in a matchup much closer than its 5-2 final score.

The Cats dropped the doubles point to fall behind 1-0, then lost five of their six first singles sets, with freshman Alicia Barnett the exception. But Barnett easily dispatched her opponent 6-1, 6-1 to tie the meet’s score 1-1, and Veronica Corning, Kate Turvy, Belinda Niu and Linda Abu Mushrefova all rallied to force third sets.

After Brittany Wowchuk lost her match 6-3, 6-3, NU needed to win three of their four third sets to capture victory. Corning prevailed 5-7, 6-4, 6-0, but Turvy, Niu and Abu Mushrefova all lost long sets, to end the nearly four-and-a-half-hour meet 5-2 in favor of the Longhorns. Despite the loss, coach Claire Pollard appreciated her team’s effort.

I’ve got to say, I was really happy with today’s matches,” she said afterward. “Disappointing as it is to have lost, I was really much more pleased with today’s performance than I was with last week’s win (against then-No. 19 Notre Dame).”

Looking to rebound against No. 19 Baylor (4-7) on Sunday, the Cats easily secured the doubles point, as Barnett and Corning won 8-1 and Turvy and Niu 8-2. Singles matches were similarly one-sided. Baylor’s top singles player, No. 13 Ema Burgic, defeated Turvy 6-1, 6-2, but the rest of the Bears squad could not keep up with NU’s balanced lineup.

Niu, Wowchuk and Barnett all cruised to easy two-set singles victories, and Abu Mushrefova and Corning led their opponents before their matches were abandoned and the Cats awarded a 4-1 victory.

At the end of the main chunk of their non-conference schedule, NU is now 6-4, with four wins against top-20 teams. Next up is No. 34 Illinois in the Cats’ first Big Ten meet.