Women’s Tennis: Wildcats stay hot in pair of weekend victories


Sean Su/Daily Senior Staffer

Sophomore Brooke Rischbieth and freshman Alex Chatt talk strategy during a doubles match. Each went undefeated during Northwestern’s weekend play.

Alex Lederman, Reporter

Women’s Tennis

The last three times Northwestern played two matches in one weekend, it split the pairs. Saturday and Sunday, the Wildcats broke that streak with convincing victories over Rutgers and Maryland.

The team handled the Scarlet Knights (6-12, 0-9 Big Ten) and the No. 75 Terrapins (9-11, 2-7) easily with 6-1 and 5-2 wins, respectively. No. 21 NU (10-5, 5-2 Big Ten) has now won six of its past seven matchups.

“We all just individually took care of what we’ve been working on,” sophomore Brooke Rieschbieth said.

In fact, NU’s biggest challenge of the weekend didn’t come from either team, but from the weather. This was the first time since the fall the Cats played outdoors.

“We’ve got to get outside and play as much tennis as possible outdoors,” coach Claire Pollard said. “The conditions really exploited some of the things we need to work on, with footwork being No. 1 on my list. We’ve still got a lot of growth to go.”

Other areas Pollard said her team needs to improve are ball tolerance and managing errors. But even with imperfect execution, the windy couple of days at Vandy Cristie Tennis Center didn’t stop the Cats.

In Sunday’s longest match, Rieschbieth actually used the wind to her advantage as much as possible to beat Maryland’s Olga Gaistruk 6-3, 5-7, 6-4.

“The conditions weren’t great, and it was windy,” freshman Rheeya Doshi said. “We all just embraced the challenge and gave it our best.”

Most importantly, NU won the doubles point in each of the matches. Doubles has been a burden for most of the season, but the duos seem to finally be hitting their strides — the Cats have now earned doubles victories in six straight contests.

Pollard said the doubles teams impressed her most this weekend.

All three of NU’s losses came in third-set tiebreakers, with freshman Erin Larner falling Saturday at No. 2 singles, and junior Alicia Barnett and senior Lok Sze Leung losing Sunday at No. 1 and No. 3 singles.

The freshmen — Doshi, Larner and Alex Chatt — all played well, with Doshi and Chatt each cruising to two easy two-set victories and Larner’s one loss coming in a nail-biter. The trio is 8-1 over the past three matches.

The Cats return to action on little rest Wednesday with a non-conference road match against No. 36 Georgia Tech (9-7, 6-4 ACC). The Yellowjackets have two ranked players, Johnnise Renaud and Paige Hourigan, at first and second singles and have ranked pair Hourigan and Kendal Woodard at No. 1 doubles.

Rieschbieth said each player has something different she must work on and has to take care of her own individual needs first. She said she plans to work on transitioning, playing aggressively and breaking down her opponent.

“Getting better every day, that’s been the theme,” Doshi said. “We’ve just been working toward that as a team and individually giving our best all the time.”

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