Women’s Tennis: With doubles loss, Wildcats season comes to a close


Nathan Richards/Daily Senior Staffer

Sophomore Alicia Barnett and her doubles partner senior Veronica Corning won their first match at the NCAA Doubles Championships before losing in the second round. The defeat was one of the final Northwestern sporting event of the 2013-14 year.

Mike Marut, Reporter

Northwestern has a long and storied women’s tennis legacy, and another chapter — arguably one of its most exciting ones yet — came to a close for the program on Saturday.

On Thursday, senior Veronica Corning and sophomore Alicia Barnett began their journey through the NCAA Doubles Championships bracket. The name of the game all weekend was serves and returns: When the two excelled at that, they won. Corning and Barnett dominated their first match 6-3, 6-4 over University of Kentucky’s Caitlin McGraw.

“We had a great first match,” Corning said. “I had short-term memory and began to focus on the second match soon after the first was over. Our second match we played really well, but our serves and returns were not as good.”

The tandem’s second match came down to three sets against host University of Georgia’s Lauren Herring and Maho Kowase. The Wildcats took the first set 7-5, then fell behind early in the second and eventually lost 2-6. The third and final set was similar to the second set with Corning and Barnett falling early and not being able to recover, finally losing 3-6.

“It was a good way to finish the season despite losing,” said Barnett, a Daily staffer. “We played really solid. Unfortunately our serves and returns were not that good. We did the best we could do, though.”

Barnett described herself as “the smasher” while Corning was “the finisher.” Both have great serves: Barnett has powerful hitting abilities and a really good baseline shot and Corning has the ability to use her finesse to finish the point for the duo. The two teamed up over the season to record 23 wins overall and only 12 losses at the No. 1 Doubles spot.

Coach Claire Pollard said she could not be prouder of her players for their effort all season. The Cats have won 15 Big Ten titles in 16 years, and this is the 15th time they hosted the opening rounds of the NCAA tournament.

Corning earned the unofficial award of most improved player under the tenure of Pollard, while senior Belinda Niu earned the Intercollegiate Tennis Association/Arthur Ashe Jr. Award for sportsmanship and her commitment both on and off the court.

The Cats were represented in the Singles Championships on Wednesday by both Corning and Niu, but both lost in the opening matches. Corning commented that her serves and returns were not up to par during her match and fell 7-5, 6-2. Niu lost in the first round of play 6-2, 6-2 and was “disappointed” in her performance on the court, but overall was satisfied on the season.

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