Wildcats looking to break losing streak in upcoming Big Ten matches


Daily file photo by Sophie Mann

Alex Chatt serves the ball to her opponent. The sophomore has helped lock down the No. 1 doubles slot for the Wildcats, winning 3-of-5 thus far.

Mike Marut , Reporter

Women’s Tennis

Over the break, Northwestern suffered four losses, dropping three matches and losing junior Manon Peri to another ACL injury a little over a year after her first one.

Peri tore her ACL against Georgia Tech over a month ago, but only got surgery on the injury Monday. The junior had been making great progress on the court for the Wildcats (5-8, 3-0 Big Ten), and after finally being cleared to play singles matches in January, Peri worked her way up to the No. 6 singles court and No. 3 doubles court.

Coach Claire Pollard said she finds it to be a tough pill to swallow.

“It’s a big loss,” Pollard said. “We’re trying to recover from it. You get dealt some bad luck, and it’s more about how you respond than the event. We have to continue to salvage what we can out of the year and get the most out of ourselves. … We have to regroup.”

Pollard also noted that Peri was more positive this year than last year after her injury.

In addition to her coach, Peri’s teammates expressed their disappointment in losing her for a second consecutive year.

“We feel really bad for her,” said sophomore Maddie Lipp, who did not participate last season due to injury. “I think she’s handling it really well. … It’s really tough to have (Peri) gone, there’s really not much positive out of that. As much as it hurts to not have her in the lineup or around in practice, having (sophomore Rheeya Doshi) is almost like a new energy.”

Peri was not available for comment after her surgery.

As a silver lining of sorts, NU regained Doshi who had taken a personal leave of absence for the past six months. Pollard and her players said they are excited to have Doshi back.

“I’m hoping she’s enthusiastic and excited; she hasn’t been through the drudgery of the season that the girls inevitably feel in month three of … playing a lot of really tough matches,” Pollard said.

That fresh enthusiasm is almost like having a brand new player to help the team, Lipp added.

Moving forward, the Cats have to find a way to get back to winning after being swept last week in Texas. Fortunately for NU, those matches were out-of-conference and the Cats find themselves still undefeated in the Big Ten, having beaten Illinois, Rutgers and Maryland before Spring Break.

Taking on Nebraska and Iowa this coming weekend should be a refreshing change of pace for NU. The team has the opportunity to get back on their home courts and take on familiar opponents.

“(Since Spring Break) we have a clean slate,” senior Alicia Barnett said. “We’re still in it to win it. That’s our goal. Everyone is focused on that and focused on getting better. We need to get better to beat these top teams.”

In order for the Cats to achieve their Big Ten championship goal, moving past Peri’s injury with the newly returned Doshi will be key to that accomplishment.

“If we can focus on the fact that we’re undefeated in Big Ten play, that goal is still alive and well,” Pollard said. “We have to try and have a short memory for our out-of-conference play and really focus on the opportunity ahead.”

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