Women’s Tennis: Northwestern splits matches in Texas

Mike Marut, Reporter

No. 7 Northwestern (5-3) tackled No. 17 Texas (3-6) over the weekend but fell to No. 18 Baylor (8-2).

Against the Longhorns, the Wildcats dominated the match, winning 5-2. Freshman Jillian Rooney, ranked No. 92, and unranked senior Nida Hamilton started off the singles portion with fast victories, 6-2, 6-1 and 6-0, 6-2, respectively. Normally, the fast games come from senior Veronica Corning and sophomore Alicia Barnett, but Saturday, Nos. 4, 5 and 6 singles Rooney, junior Lok Sze Leung and Hamilton gave NU the edge.

“The bottom of the lineup did really well,” coach Claire Pollard said. “It really helped to get quick points at (courts) four and six.”

Despite the seemingly solid victory, Pollard said the Cats did not play up to their standard.

“We did a good job this weekend, not great though,” Pollard said. “We competed hard though.”

Coming off a great weekend at the Intercollegiate Tennis Association National Team Indoor Championships where they upset two top-10 teams, the Cats faced a trying test in Texas in their first outdoor matches of the season.

Despite feeling good coming into the match against the Bears on Sunday, NU fell to the Bears by the same 5-2 score. The Cats fought hard for the doubles point, winning quickly at court three, 8-3, but the Bears defeated them 8-7 and 8-6 at courts one and two.

“I was disappointed when we lost doubles,” Pollard said. “Baylor is incredibly difficult at singles. The match was lost after we lost the doubles point.”

It was all downhill from there for NU. Ranked 30th in the country, Corning fell to No. 59 Kiah Generette early at No. 1 singles 7-5, 6-2. Shortly after, No. 109 Leung fell to unranked Blair Shankle 6-0, 7-5 despite leading the second set 5-3. The death blow came from Baylor’s Victoria Kisialeva over Barnett at No. 3 singles. Kisialeva defeated Barnett 7-5, 6-3.

The two highlights against the Bears came from seniors No. 58 Belinda Niu and Hamilton. Although Niu’s singles match did not finish because her opponent stopped playing, Pollard noted Niu led her match 3-2 in the second set after winning the first set 6-2. Niu has won every singles match this season; she now boasts a 5-0 record on the season.

Hamilton fought and won her own contest 7-5, 6-4 against the Bears’ Megan Horter. Hamilton also remains undefeated in singles this season at 2-0.

Starting this week, NU faces its first Big Ten competition of the season. The Cats, the reigning Big Ten champions, will take on Indiana before a long break until March, when they will battle Purdue and Illinois.

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