Women’s Tennis: Northwestern remains above .500 heading into Spring Break

Alex Lederman, Reporter

For Northwestern, it was another weekend and another 1-1 showing.

The No. 28 Wildcats (5-4, 1-1 Big Ten) wrapped their winter season by splitting a pair of matchups for the second consecutive week, this time on the road losing to No. 22 Ohio State (8-4, 2-0) before defeating No. 42 Indiana (9-3, 0-0).

And the upcoming two-week hiatus apparently couldn’t come at a better time.

“Spring Break will be good to get away from Evanston and change the scene,” junior Alicia Barnett said. “If we just keep doing what we’re doing and working as hard as we’ve been working, eventually we’ll get what we deserve.”

Similar to NU’s first set of Big Ten matches, only one of the two counted toward the conference record. This time, Ohio State counted and Indiana did not.

NU opened Friday in Columbus, Ohio, and suffered its worst loss of the season — a 6-1 defeat. Freshman Alex Chatt at No. 4 singles earned NU’s only win on the day with a 6-4, 2-6, 1-0 (10-7) nail-biter over Miho Kowase. Chatt is now 7-2 on the season.

Otherwise, it wasn’t pretty for the Cats. First, the team lost the doubles point, with Chatt and sophomore Brooke Rischbieth and freshman Rheeya Doshi and senior Lok Sze Leung both falling in their contests. At the No. 1 doubles, Barnett and freshman Erin Larner were tied 7-7 with the No. 24 duo Sandy Niehaus and Gabriella De Santis when play was suspended.

At singles, Ohio State clinched quickly with five straight wins.

The Buckeye beatdown was an abrupt result, but didn’t undermine NU’s confidence.

“Ohio State was quite disappointing,” Barnett said, “but I definitely think we tried our hardest.”

The result at Indiana was better for NU — a 4-3 victory.

The Cats switched up their doubles teams — pitting Larner and Rischbieth, Barnett and Doshi, Chatt and Leung — yet still lost the doubles point. Larner and Rischbieth won 8-7 (7-4) at the No. 1 doubles, but the other two teams couldn’t defeat their counterparts.

“None of us have set doubles partners yet,” Barnett said. “We’re still figuring that out.”

In singles, Chatt posted a rare loss, putting the Cats in a 2-0 hole, but consecutive wins by Rischbieth, Barnett, Doshi and Leung led the Cats to victory.

With the win heading into Spring Break, the Cats are convinced luck has swayed their way.

“We experienced some setbacks in the winter with injuries.” Rischbieth said. “If we keep trusting in the process, the results will take care of themselves.”

Rischbieth said the team spent time with alumni recently and learned the importance of leaving the team in a better place than where it started. She said having a strong legacy is something the squad highly values.

And overall, it appears the tide is heading in the right direction for the Cats.

“If we can keep beating teams like Indiana, Penn State and Purdue, we can build confidence and develop belief,” Barnett said. “We may have not struck gold just yet, but hopefully in the next few matchups we’ll get what we deserve.”

Email: [email protected]northwestern.edu