Women’s Tennis: Northwestern cruises to doubleheader sweep over Akron, Chicago State


Daily file photo by Keshia Johnson

Alex Chatt celebrates a point. The junior went undefeated over the weekend.

Joseph Wilkinson, Reporter

Women’s Tennis

The Wildcats stormed through a doubleheader Saturday, dominating Akron and Chicago State with consecutive 7-0 wins to open the winter season.

Northwestern’s depth was on full display as Maddie Lipp, the Cats’ only ranked singles player in the top-150 by the ITA, didn’t play singles in either match. But the lack of starpower didn’t stop NU (2-0) from winning all but one set the entire day.

“We have a really good team,” coach Claire Pollard said. “We’re great in doubles. We’re really solid at every position. If we can be all in, I think we have a chance at a special year.”

Junior Alex Chatt proved integral to the Cats sweep, as she stepped up to the No. 3 singles spot in both matches. Chatt, who also keyed NU’s doubles effort against Akron, had played the majority of her career matches at No. 4 before Saturday.

The 5-foot-5 Chatt is one of the shortest players on the team, but that didn’t stop her from uncorking powerful groundstrokes to dominate opponents. It worked in doubles, where she and Lipp won 6-1 against Akron. And it worked in singles, where she won 6-2, 6-4 in the first match and 6-0, 6-2 in the second.

“Our energy was great. Not just from me but the entire team,” Chatt said. “We were just setting our plays, having really good presence at the net. Maddie and I just really went out there and went for it and tried to bring as much confidence as we could.”

Lipp and Chatt are the No. 6 doubles team in the nation, while Lee Or and junior Erin Larner are ranked 23rd. Both teams showed why against Akron, securing swift victories in under half an hour to set the tone and win the doubles point for the Cats.

NU then dominated on the outer courts, recording quick two-set victories on the bottom four singles matches. Senior Jillian Rooney started the action, cruising to a 6-0, 6-1 victory at the number four spot.

“I really needed to be patient; the girl got a lot of balls back,” Rooney said. “I just tried to be as patient as I could, and then when I saw an opportunity (I tried to) be aggressive and take over the point.”

Senior Brooke Rischbieth’s single play was also integral to both victories. The senior won 6-3, 6-1 at No. 5 against Akron and then 6-0, 6-1 at No. 4 against Chicago State.

Freshman Nina Van Oost also picked up three victories on the day, winning at No. 6 and No. 5 singles and teaming up with Rooney to win at No. 2 doubles against the Cougars.

The Cats will look to build on their dominant start next Saturday when they take on Harvard at home.

Email: josephwilkinson2019@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @joe_f_wilkinson