The Daily Northwestern

Women’s Tennis: Wildcats dominate double-header to start year

Erin Larner strikes a backhand. The senior helped the Wildcats cruise to two easy victories over the weekend.

Erin Larner strikes a backhand. The senior helped the Wildcats cruise to two easy victories over the weekend.

Noah Frick-Alofs/Daily Senior Staffer

Noah Frick-Alofs/Daily Senior Staffer

Erin Larner strikes a backhand. The senior helped the Wildcats cruise to two easy victories over the weekend.

Calvin Alexander, Reporter

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Women’s Tennis

Northwestern started the regular season with a bang, rolling through Ball State and Saint Louis University this past Saturday en route to two dominant wins.

Against the Cardinals of Ball State, NU (2-0) swept doubles and won five of the six singles matches. Facing the Billikens, the Cats’ depth shone through once again as they won all nine matches.

”I really don’t think it matters what spot you play,” junior Lee Or said. “You always just find a way to beat the player that is in front of you”

The No. 4 pairing in the nation, seniors Erin Larner and Maddie Lipp, pushed past Ball State’s duo of junior Audrey Berger and freshman Rebecca Herrington in a back-and-forth affair to begin doubles action against the Cardinals.

“In the first match I was a little nervous,” Lipp said. “We got the rust off, and we started playing our game.”

Meanwhile, it looked like the Cats’ No. 2 doubles pair of Or and senior Alex Chatt, the No. 8 team in the country, would encounter a similar situation when they began their set down 2-1. However, they quickly rebounded and won five games in a row to take the set. That success spilled over into third doubles, where sophomore transfer Julie Byrne and junior Rheeya Doshi dominated, winning 6-1.

The wins did not stop there, as NU took its momentum into the singles portion of the dual. In a similar vein to her doubles match, Chatt had a rocky start to her singles leg. The senior let an early lead slip and found herself tied 5-5 late in the first set, but she caught fire and won eight straight games to put away Ball State senior Julia Sbircea.

While Chatt faced significant pressure in the first set, most of the squad cruised to victory. Or pulled out a 6-3, 6-2 victory, freshmen Caroline Pozo and Inci Ogut, along with Larner and Lipp, combined to drop a single game in their opening sets.

They all finished the job except for Pozo, who was outlasted by Victoria Sec who claimed the lone win for the Cardinals.

Then, after a brief intermission, the Cats faced the Billikens, and the contest was decisive from the start. Coach Claire Pollard switched up the singles lineup, leaving Larner and Lipp out.

“It was fun for me sitting in the stands,” Lipp said, “watching the new players compete in their first match as Wildcats.”

The lineup alteration did not prove to be an obstacle. All six players grabbed easy victories in the afternoon to cap off the day.

Pollard also changed up the doubles partnerships — Ogut and Pozo filled in for Chatt and Or — but NU still cruised to victory. The Cats dropped only one game across all three doubles courts in a clean sweep of the doubles point.

Although the results were positive, Pollard made sure to keep the wins in context.

“We’re 2-0 right now,” Pollard said. “But we’ve got a long way to go.”

Twitter: @CalvAlexander