Women’s Tennis: As Northwestern jostles for tournament seeding, Barnett prepares to play last career home match


Daily file photo by Lauren Duquette

Alicia Barnett smashes a backhand shot. The senior will play her final regular-season home match in Evanston this Friday against Michigan.

Robbie Markus, Reporter

Women’s Tennis

Northwestern will say goodbye to its two-time All Big-Ten senior this weekend.
The Wildcats (10-9, 8-1 Big Ten) will host Michigan (17-4, 9-0) on Senior Night this Friday, the last home match of the season for NU. The lone senior on the team, Alicia Barnett, will play her final home match as the team will travel to East Lansing, Michigan, on Sunday to close out the regular season against Michigan State (12-9, 4-5).

Barnett will be crucial to NU in both matches this weekend, as the senior leads the team with eight Big Ten singles wins this season. Additionally, the Cats and the Wolverines have jockeyed for the top two spots in the conference for the last few seasons, as the teams have finished 1st and 2nd in Big Ten championships in each of the last 10 years.

“Michigan’s always a big match for us,” Barnett said. “We’re just going to go out there, and compete our asses off.”

Dating back to 2013, Michigan has won 37 straight Big Ten regular season matches. Despite the fact that the team only has two upperclassmen, the Wolverines have remained atop the Big Ten Standings with their eyes on a conference championship.

Meanwhile, the Cats should have an easier matchup Sunday when they take on Michigan State. NU is 38-1 all-time against the Spartans, and Michigan State has struggled against Big Ten competition this season, sitting in a five-way tie for 6th place in the conference.

The match has a great deal on the line, as both the Cats and the Wolverines are battling for top seeds in the upcoming Big Ten Tournament, which begins April 28 after all teams finish regular season play.

“We have to finish on a strong note,” sophomore Alex Chatt said. “We’re just trying to hit as many balls as possible, and be able to prepare technically and tactically as much as possible.”

After NU’s loss to Ohio State last Sunday, the Cats currently sit at 3rd in the Big Ten. Michigan remains one win ahead of Northwestern, tied with the Buckeyes for 1st place in the conference.

If NU beats the Wolverines on Friday, they’ll put themselves in a position to grab the No. 2 seed in the conference tournament, as the Cats would edge out Michigan in head-to-head play.

Barnett has had a number of memorable singles and doubles wins for NU in the NCAA tournament and is looking for one final home victory this Friday. She also held down No. 1 singles her junior year, when she led the Cats to the Round of 32 in the NCAA tournament.

After coaching Barnett all four years, coach Claire Pollard’s words on her senior were short, but meaningful.

“She’s a phenomenal human being,” Pollard said.

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