Women’s Tennis: After Ohio State loss, Northwestern looks for first top-10 win


Daily file photo by Colin Boyle

Maddie Lipp follows through a shot. The junior and the Wildcats are seeking a big win this weekend at Michigan.

Sophie Mann, Digital Development and Recruitment Editor

Women’s Tennis

After its first loss of the conference season, Northwestern is looking to the last weekend of regular season Big Ten play for redemption.

The Wildcats (12-9, 8-1 Big Ten) will travel to Ann Arbor on Friday for a match with No. 10 Michigan (17-4, 9-0) less than a week after being swept by then-No. 4 Ohio State. It was a match that coach Claire Pollard said was more competitive than is evident by the outcome of the matches, but not up to par with her team’s previous play.

“I thought it was a more competitive match than the score indicated,” Pollard said. “I’ve watched three videos so far, and frankly I don’t think we played as well as I thought we could have. I thought we played OK.”

As the Cats are still without a win against a ranked team on the year, this is an important weekend for NU as postseason play approaches. The match against the Wolverines represents the final opportunity to get one, but it will be no easy feat — Michigan’s lineup includes two top-25 singles players, Brienne Minor and Kate Fahey, and a top-10 doubles pair.

However, all is not lost for the Cats. Last year, after losing to then-No. 5 Ohio State in Columbus, the team took down the then-No. 10 Wolverines 4-3. This opportunity for redemption, especially against a top-10 team, is one that Pollard said she’s excited for.

Junior Maddie Lipp said playing the Buckeyes before the Wolverines helped prepare them for a fun challenge in Ann Arbor.

“Playing Michigan away is always a challenge,” Lipp said. “It’s more fun when we’re playing Ohio State and Michigan. Hopefully we can get the win.”

When NU returns home, it will face another strong conference opponent in Michigan State (17-5, 7-2). Though the Spartans are unranked, they sit comfortably at the No. 4 spot in the Big Ten, just below the Cats.

Echoing a season-long theme, Lipp said the team doesn’t overlook any opponent, regardless of ranking. Still, she emphasized the importance and need for focus in Sunday’s match.

“We’re never overlooking any teams; we’ll be ready for Michigan State,” Lipp said. “We’ll play the same against Michigan State as we will against Michigan.”

Though NU remains focused on the competition, the end of the conference season brings an end to the careers of the team’s three seniors: Brooke Rischbieth, Jillian Rooney and Manon Peri. Lipp said she hoped the emotions of the day wouldn’t get in the way of their competitive mindset.

Even with a difficult weekend looming, Pollard said she looks forward to traveling to Ann Arbor and another “golden opportunity” for the Cats to show their strength as a team.

“We haven’t taken advantage of any (opportunities) yet. We’ll go down fighting,” Pollard said. “We’ll just need to play a great match. But (Ann Arbor is) a fun place, and it’s a good atmosphere to play in. I think it’s fun; it’s exciting for our girls.”

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