Women’s Tennis: Wildcats shake off loss, prepare for weekend roadtrip

Josh Walfish, Sports Editor

A team can be judged by its ability to bounce back from a tough defeat.

Northwestern’s last match did not end the way it hoped, dropping a 4-3 thriller to Michigan on Sunday. Despite losing a second conference match for the first time since 2003, the Wildcats have maintained their focus on finishing the regular season strong. The road begins this weekend when NU travels to Penn State and Ohio State.

“(The loss is) in the past so we can’t do anything about it,” freshman Alicia Barnett said. “We’re just concentrating on Penn State.”

Coach Claire Pollard said she thought her team responded well during practice this week after the loss. However, she cautioned that NU normally practices well whether they won or lost the previous weekend.

“We do a good job, win or lose, during the week,” Pollard said. “Our preparation is good. We know we have to take care of business the next four matches, and then we’ll look forward to the Big Ten Tournament, where hopefully we’ll get a crack at the two teams that have beaten us so far.”

One of NU’s biggest issues this season has been the play of the No. 2 doubles pair. Two teams alternate in that spot, the duo of junior Belinda Niu and senior Kate Turvy and the pair of Barnett and junior Veronica Corning. The Cats are a measly 9-9 at the No. 2 spot, but they are a remarkable 12-1 at the No. 3 spot.

Pollard called on either of the two doubles teams to grab control of the No. 2 spot and assume the responsibility. Barnett and Corning have won their last five completed matches as a team, and Corning said it doesn’t matter to her which position she plays in as long as they win. She attributed the pair’s success to becoming more in sync as a duo.

“We’ve been playing really well together so far in the last couple of matches,” Corning said. “We’re more energized and more disciplined and are able to work together. We now have a feeling of how each other play so it’s easier to know who’s going to be where.”