Women’s Tennis: Wildcats force three sets, fall short against Alabama


Daily file photo by Leeks Lim

Alex Chatt lunges for the ball. The sophomore fell in her doubles match against Alabama, but won in singles.

Mike Marut, Reporter

Women’s Tennis

The rematch against Alabama did not go as Northwestern had hoped.

Unfortunately for the Wildcats (1-5), three singles matches went to a deciding third set, and all three three-set matches were lost. Senior Alicia Barnett, freshman Lee Or and junior Jillian Rooney each went the distance in the team’s 5-2 loss to the Crimson Tide on Sunday.

For NU, this has been the story of the season so far. The Cats have come close to winning most of their contests, but sometimes just cannot put their opponents away. In the past, coach Claire Pollard has said NU has to fight the psychological barrier of losing the doubles point. Against the No. 17 Crimson Tide, though, the Cats lost the doubles point but still had a chance at victory in singles play.

“The doubles point was win-able,” Pollard said. “We didn’t execute when it really mattered. Unfortunately, we can’t get a break, and we’re sort of beating ourselves up a bit. We’ve lost a little more than we’re used to losing. It’s hurting us a little bit in terms of a little bit of confidence.”

This was NU’s second match of the season against Alabama. Last time out, the Cats wiped the floor with the Crimson Tide, but neither team had much practice before that match. Five weeks later, Alabama showed the improvements it made on the court.

NU will have to get back on track quickly though as Big Ten play starts Friday against conference rival Illinois. Traditionally, at this point in the season, the Cats have racked up a few wins and have been ranked well within the top-25. However, this season has proven especially tough for NU.

“It’s pretty disappointing, every single loss,” sophomore Alex Chatt said. “We’re upset after every loss. We can’t let that affect us. We have Illinois next weekend.”

This season has been tough on Barnett, the lone senior, as she has seen so many good seasons in her three previous years, she said.

“Right now, we’re a bit shaken up,” Barnett said. “Every single one of these matches we could have won just as easily as we lost. (The wins) are going to come.”

From this point forward, the Cats can only build from these. Most of the losses have not been blowouts, but close matches. NU has played some highly ranked teams and has come close to winning, but at the end of the day, it’s the win-loss record that people will see.

“We’re so close, and yet so far away, depending on which way you look at it,” Pollard said. “My biggest thing right now is ‘no one can jump ship.’ We’ve got to ride the storm; the storm is going to pass. I really think we’re a great team; we just have to continue to work. We’re going to get the results we deserve.”

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