Women’s Tennis: Wildcats prepare for competitive road stretch


Daily file photo by Lauren Duquette

Erin Larner hits a forehand. The junior will look to lift Northwestern over a pair of ranked opponents this weekend.

Joseph Wilkinson, Reporter

Women’s Tennis

After a nearly two-week long hiatus, the Wildcats are taking their show on the road, where they’ll face another pair of ranked opponents in Seattle.

Northwestern will open the weekend with a showdown against No. 11 Oklahoma State on Saturday before squaring off against No. 25 Washington on Sunday. The games will be the Cats’ fifth and sixth against current top-25 teams this season.

“We’re just getting a lot of experience at a high level,” coach Claire Pollard said. “We’re learning a lot about ourselves.”

So far, NU is 0-4 against ranked competition.

Its last road trip resulted in back-to-back losses to now-No. 14 Vanderbilt and No. 10 Duke. Two weekends ago, the Cats suffered a home loss to No. 13 Baylor.

“It has really challenged us to start raising our level early on in the season,” junior Erin Larner said. “We’ll see it day-in-and-day-out, so that when we get later in the season everyone starts to hopefully hit their peak.”

Though the Cats are winless against ranked competition, Larner is 2-2 at No. 1 singles in those matches. She picked up both her wins against Duke’s Samantha Harris, whom she beat twice in straight sets.

The junior also helped the Cats pick up the doubles point in three of their four toughest matches.

“She’s grown and learned a lot,” Pollard said of Larner. “She’s worked really hard mentally and to improve her game and her serve has improved. … She’s going to get some big time wins. It’s just a matter of time.”

Beyond Larner, the doubles team of juniors Alex Chatt and Maddie Lipp has added a layer of success to NU’s play. The Cats are 7-2 in doubles this season, with the duo leading them to five of their doubles points.

Still, NU needs consistency throughout its lineup to compete with the nation’s best. Thus far, the Cats have lost every match at Nos. 3 and 4 singles against top-25 opponents.

But sophomore Rheeya Doshi, who is 0-4 at No. 3 against ranked competitors, said she is not worried.

“We’re playing good schools,” she said. “I feel like it’s great competition. It’s making us tougher, so it should be good preparation for later in the season.”

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