Coming into the 2012-13 season as a team with expectations, the Wildcats walked away with a season that, while marked by a few frustrating losses, proved last year’s resurgence was no fluke.
Northwestern began its season with six straight wins, including victories over Louisville and Notre Dame, two teams that had flummoxed the Cats in the past. After a blistering start, NU was slowed by Vanderbilt and Harvard, who handed the Cats two back-to-back 4-3 losses in early February. Later, five straight wins leading up to the start of its conference schedule helped get NU back on track and break into the top 20 in the rankings.
Through the majority of their Big Ten season, the Cats played to their ranking, handling their lower-ranked opponents but failing to upset the top teams in the conference, with the exception of their odd trip to Michigan, when both Michigan and Michigan State — two lower-ranked teams — beat NU convincingly.
But the Cats saved their best tennis for last, coming within a few sets of upsetting Illinois in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament. After earning a berth in the NCAA Tournament, NU did not end its season quietly, defeating Wake Forest in spectacular fashion in the first round, punctuated by a tense three-set win by senior Chris Jackman in the deciding match. Although they bowed out in the second round, the Cats put up a fight against No. 3 seed Georgia on the Bulldogs’ home turf to finish their season with a 22-10 record.