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Women’s Tennis: Wildcats fall in conference showdown against Buckeyes

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Women’s Tennis: Wildcats fall in conference showdown against Buckeyes

Brooke Rischbieth follows through on a serve. The junior was the first Wildcat to lose her singles match Sunday against Ohio State.

Brooke Rischbieth follows through on a serve. The junior was the first Wildcat to lose her singles match Sunday against Ohio State.

Daily file photo by Lauren Duquette

Brooke Rischbieth follows through on a serve. The junior was the first Wildcat to lose her singles match Sunday against Ohio State.

Daily file photo by Lauren Duquette

Daily file photo by Lauren Duquette

Brooke Rischbieth follows through on a serve. The junior was the first Wildcat to lose her singles match Sunday against Ohio State.

Robbie Markus, Reporter

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Women’s Tennis


Despite coach Claire Pollard’s claim that she was looking forward to “ruining” Ohio State’s season, the Buckeyes dispatched Northwestern from a first-place tie at the top of the Big Ten.

The Wildcats (10-9, 8-1) came into the weekend with a four-game win streak and an undefeated conference record. The team was tied with No. 5 Ohio State (23-2, 9-0) and No. 9 Michigan (17-4, 9-0) for first place in the Big Ten, as all three schools boasted spotless conference records.

After extending that conference winning streak to five Friday, the Wildcats suffered their first Big Ten loss of the season, a 6-1 defeat to the Buckeyes.

The Cats started their weekend Friday by moving to 8-0 in conference with a dominant 6-1 win over a Penn State team that remains in the middle of Big Ten standings.

The match against the Nittany Lions began with NU’s new doubles lineup, a strategic shift that worked in the Cats’ favor last weekend. The payoff with the new lineup continued, as senior Alicia Barnett and junior Brooke Rischbieth quickly won No. 2 doubles 6-0. Sophomores Alex Chatt and Maddie Lipp fought to give NU the doubles point at No. 1 doubles with a 6-4 victory, starting the match out 1-0 for the Cats.

NU continued to roll in singles play, as Chatt and Lipp quickly grabbed wins in straight sets, putting the Cats up 3-0. After Rischbieth fought to win a first set tiebreaker, she won her second set 6-1 to decide the match for the Cats, winning 7-6 (7-4), 6-1.

Penn State avoided a shutout after No. 1 singles player Kimberley-Ann Surin pulled out a three-set victory over sophomore Erin Larner on the last court remaining, winning 6-3, 1-6, 6-3 to make the final score 6-1.

Following its decisive win Friday, NU focused its attention on a match against the No. 5 Buckeyes in Columbus, Ohio. Led by the No. 1 recruit in the 2015 class, freshman Francesca Di Lorenzo, OSU came into the match with seven consecutive Big Ten shutouts.

In doubles, NU came in fighting for every point, as Larner and junior Jillian Rooney clawed their way to victory at third doubles, winning a tiebreak 7-6 (8-6) to decide the doubles point for the Cats, putting them on top 1-0.

However, the Buckeyes took control as singles play began. Rischbieth struggled, going down 6-1, 6-1 at No. 6 singles, and Barnett fell 6-1, 6-3 at No. 2 singles to put OSU up 2-1. The Buckeyes pulled out two more straight set singles wins at No. 1 and No. 4 singles to decide the match 4-1. At No. 3 singles, Lipp played a fierce 3rd-set tiebreaker with her opponent, but ultimately she was edged out 6-4, 3-6, 13-11.

NU will face Michigan and Michigan State next weekend in preparation for the Big Ten tournament.

Email: robinsonmarkus2019@u.northwestern.edu

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