Women’s Tennis: Northwestern loses to Michigan, beats Michigan State on Senior Day


Daily file photo by Colin Boyle

Alex Chatt fires a serve. The junior and the Wildcats split their final regular season matches.

Sophie Mann, Digital Development and Recruitment Editor

Women’s Tennis

On a beautiful Senior Day in Evanston, Northwestern redeemed its loss from Friday by closing its regular season with a victory to close the weekend.

The Wildcats (13-10, 9-2 Big Ten) secured their second consecutive split weekend. After being swept by No. 5 Ohio State last Sunday, the Cats traveled to Ann Arbor seeking redemption, with another opportunity to snag a win over a highly ranked team. They missed it, however, falling to No. 10 Michigan (19-4, 11-0) 4-2.

NU narrowly lost the doubles point, despite a strong result on the top court. The No. 16 pair Alex Chatt and Maddie Lipp took down No. 9 Kate Fahey and Alex Najarian, but close losses for the Cats at No. 2 and 3 gave the Wolverines to point.

Singles play looked promising for the visitors, as junior Erin Larner took down No. 24 Brienne Minor at the No. 1 spot, and Chatt won her match in straight sets.

But even early singles success couldn’t push NU to victory, as it then dropped four straight matches.

Coach Claire Pollard said that, although her team was unable to repeat its Michigan win from last year, the match’s competitiveness made the defeat less sour.

“We played well on Friday, very well,” Pollard said. “The lesson of the year might be … how critical every point is because you just never know what that point is going to make a huge difference.”

Sophomore Rheeya Doshi echoed her coach’s sentiment. She said that the Wolverines always present a tough test, but following consecutive losses, the Cats entered their regular season finale even more motivated.

“It was a tough match,” Doshi said of Friday. “We all fought hard, and coming out to (the match against Michigan State), we’re going to fight harder.”

The team then traveled back home for Senior Day in hopes of redemption. They got it, eeking out a 4-3 win in a hotly contested match against Michigan State (17-7, 7-4) on Sunday.

Doubles went down to the wire, as Doshi and sophomore partner Lee Or narrowly fell in the eventual decider.

A break before singles allowed the Cats to rejuvenate, as the team honored seniors Brooke Rischbieth and Jillian Rooney at their final home match.

After play resumed, NU powered through singles as Doshi and Chatt made quick work of their matches. Larner put in another strong singles performance of her own, grabbing the clinching point.

Rischbieth said she has learned from Pollard the importance of shaking off losses, especially as the Big Ten Tournament looms. The Cats will open tournament play with a rematch against Michigan State on Friday.

“As Claire always says, you have to have a quick memory for losses, and you have to bounce back,” Rischbieth said. “We learned a lot of things against Ohio State and Michigan that we started to implement … and hopefully we get another crack at them.”

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