Women’s Tennis: Wildcats look for fresh start with pair of weekend matches


Daily file photo by Leeks Lim

Jillian Rooney eyes to return the ball. The junior took her Alabama opponent to the third set last Sunday but couldn’t pull out the win.

Robbie Markus, Reporter

Women’s Tennis

Although Northwestern has dropped its last five matches, the team is keeping its spirits high as it heads into a pair of matches against Illinois and Georgia Tech this weekend.

Illinois and Georgia Tech will be the Wildcats’ lowest-ranked opponents of the season thus far, so NU is hoping to get back on track with a pair of dominating wins.

The Cats begin the weekend with their first conference game of the season at Illinois on Friday. Since the 2004-2005 season, NU is 15-0 against Illinois, including two wins over the Fighting Illini last season, and the team is hoping to capitalize on this previous success as it looks to rebound from some tough losses.

“We’re just trying to get out there and think on a clean slate,” freshman Lee Or said. “The conference record is 0-0, and we just want to start out hot with a good win.”

Although NU’s record and ranking indicate they are having a lackluster season, their schedule tells a different story. The Cats fell to 1-5 overall after the Alabama loss last Sunday and dropped to No. 53 in the collegiate rankings, yet all six of NU’s opponents so far are currently ranked inside the top 30.

Furthermore, in matches the Cats have lost this season, a good number have come right down to the wire. Two of the three doubles matches NU played against Alabama were decided by tiebreakers, but the Cats ended up dropping both matches.

“Our record isn’t indicative of how well we’ve really played, and how good we really are,” said coach Claire Pollard. “But the bottom line is a win’s a win and a loss is a loss, and hopefully we’ll get a win.”

After the Cats’ match at Illinois, they come back to Evanston to play Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets came into Sunday off the heels of two tough losses to No. 2 Ohio State and No. 5 Georgia.

Although Georgia Tech has shown that it can dominate weak competition this season with wins over Mercer and Kennesaw State, it has struggled against top-ranked teams. The Yellow Jackets’ best win was over No. 42 William and Mary in a 4-1 result.

Many players said the difficult schedule has toughened them up and prepared them for matches this weekend.

“The tough matches we’ve played against the top teams have been really close, and they’re going to help us get through the Big Ten season with a really good record,” junior Maddie Lipp said. “We’ve been really close with our matches, and we’re gonna get some wins this weekend.”

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