Women’s tennis: Cats stay perfect in Big Ten with win over Rutgers


Daily file photo by Lauren Duquette

Erin Larner readies for a backhand. The junior led the Wildcats to a weekend sweep to open Big Ten play.

Sophie Mann, Digital Development and Recruitment Editor

Women’s Tennis

After a challenging start to the season, Northwestern is starting to round into form.

The Wildcats (7-8, 3-0 Big Ten) took down Rutgers on Sunday (5-8, 0-4) despite early struggles that forced NU to play from behind. The win was the Cats’ second straight after a four-game skid earlier in March.

NU lost the doubles point, unable to follow up an easy 6-0 win sophomore Rheeya Doshi and junior Erin Larner. The Scarlet Knights won on the other two courts, securing a close 7-5 win at No. 2 to get on the board first.

Coach Claire Pollard said that with much of Big Ten play still to come, the coaching staff is still working on creating the best doubles lineup. She added that pairings and placings may change depending on opponent.

“Prior to this weekend, I think we were 8-of-11 (in doubles); we beat Oklahoma State who has lost two doubles points in two years,” Pollard said. “I don’t think that (success) involves the same line up every match.”

Despite the issues in doubles, the Cats bounced back in singles play. The team stifled the Scarlet Knights, winning five of six matches to roll to victory. After quick two-set wins from sophomore Lee Or, Doshi and Larner, junior Alex Chatt sealed the deal for the hosts, overcoming Katherine Muzik in three sets.

Though Rutgers did pick up another point of the match against senior Brooke Rischbieth in singles, it could not overcome the deficit, as senior Jillian Rooney finished off the match for NU with a 7-5, 1-6, 6-4 win.

Or said though the Cats weren’t playing their best tennis over the weekend, the experience playing Big Ten teams can only propel them forward in the coming weeks.

“We competed well; we recovered from losing the doubles point,” Or said. “We are taking that to next week and obviously get better and play better.”

As the Big Ten season continues and competition ramps up, Or said consistency from the beginning of matches will be important.

Pollard echoed this sentiment and said as the team re-acclimates to campus and keeps its competitive edge, she isn’t worried about competition going forward.

“Spring break is a tricky week; the start of the new quarter there’s a lot for us to contend with,” Pollard said. “We’re going to try to make sure the girls are prepared and fresh and hungry. I’m not really concerned with who we’re up against.”

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