Women’s Tennis: Doubles teams power Wildcats as they look to move to 3-0

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Daily file photo by Keshia Johnson

Alex Chatt follows through after a hit. The junior and her doubles partner, Maddie Lipp, have excelled to start the season.

Joseph Wilkinson, Reporter


Women’s Tennis


Doubles tennis often plays second fiddle to singles, with singles players garnering the most attention. But not at Northwestern.

The Wildcats’ (2-0) three doubles teams are the unquestioned strength of their lineup this season, with all three teams ranked in the top 25 nationally. In contrast, NU’s highest ranked singles player is junior Maddie Lipp at No. 104.

Lipp and fellow junior Alex Chatt make up the Cats’ top team at No. 6 in the country and look to lead NU against Harvard on Saturday.

“Chatt’s an awesome person to play with on the court,” Lipp said. “She has really good energy, and she keeps me going all the time even when I’m not feeling that great. Her energy really helps me, and our experience will definitely help us accomplish what we want to do this year.”

Lipp and Chatt aren’t the only ones propelling NU to success in doubles, where the Cats were victorious in both of their matches last weekend. The No. 2 doubles duo of junior Erin Larner and sophomore Lee Or picked up a 6-1 victory over Akron last week — the same scoreline as Chatt and Lipp — and sits at No. 24 in the rankings.

Larner has been a staple of the Cats’ doubles lineup in her three years, posting a 30-11 record in dual match play across all three spots in the lineup. Or, however, has played doubles in just 12 career dual matches.

“She’s got really good hands at the net, and I think her game has come a really long way,” Larner said of Or. “We’re just trying to combine past experience I’ve had in the doubles lineup with her really good growth in her game over the past year.”

The No. 3 doubles team of senior Jillian Rooney and sophomore Rheeya Doshi is ranked No. 23 in the nation, but was less impressive against Akron. Their match went unfinished at 2-3 as the No. 1 and No. 2 teams cruised to victory, securing the doubles point for NU.

The quick, one-set nature of doubles matches leaves little room for error, even for top teams. As doubles play is the Cats’ strength, that unpredictability concerns coach Claire Pollard.

“It’s so short that it can be over before you’ve even had a chance for your difference in level to really show up,” Pollard said. “The doubles can be the key in a close match, but it’s also only worth one point.”

With little advance scouting on the Crimson, Pollard is banking on NU’s talent and adaptability to continue the Cats’ perfect start to the season.

“They have seven freshmen,” Pollard said of Harvard. “So we’ll need to learn on-the-go and quickly.”

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Twitter: @joe_f_wilkinson

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