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Women’s Tennis: Northwestern looks to qualify for ITA Championship

Maddie+Lipp+prepares+to+hit+a+volley.+The+senior+is+hoping+the+team+wins+both+of+its+matches+this+weekend+to+qualify+for+the+ITA+Championship.
Maddie Lipp prepares to hit a volley. The senior is hoping the team wins both of its matches this weekend to qualify for the ITA Championship.

Maddie Lipp prepares to hit a volley. The senior is hoping the team wins both of its matches this weekend to qualify for the ITA Championship.

Daily file photo by Noah Frick-Alofs

Daily file photo by Noah Frick-Alofs

Maddie Lipp prepares to hit a volley. The senior is hoping the team wins both of its matches this weekend to qualify for the ITA Championship.

Calvin Alexander, Reporter

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Women’s Tennis


Northwestern will head to the Boone Tennis Center in Lexington, Kentucky this weekend to participate in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Kick-Off Weekend.

They will join host No. 21 Kentucky (2-0), No. 16 UCLA (1-0) and North Carolina State for a brief two-match road trip. If the Wildcats (2-0) win both matches, they will qualify for the ITA National Indoor Championship in February.

The Cats are off to a hot start after two straightforward victories on opening day. However, the level of competition will be high this weekend.

“We are going to get two really great quality matches,” coach Claire Pollard said. “Two potential top-25 wins.”

While NC State is not ranked in the top 25, it received top-25 votes in the first ITA poll of the year.

NU will face off against Kentucky to get the tournament underway on Friday. In that contest, the Cats will look to come out of the gates firing. The team boasts two of the top eight doubles pairings in the country and that puts it in a strong position to win the doubles point.

In singles, the Cats do not lack leadership. Seniors Erin Larner, Maddie Lipp and Alex Chatt will all likely make large contributions. Junior Lee Or, another experienced player, led the Cats at No. 1 singles during the first two matches.

Even with strong leadership and impressive doubles partnerships, however, Or said she is expecting a difficult battle.

“We don’t look at the rankings,” Or said. “But we know they are not going to give anything to us.”

Win or lose, the Cats will have one more match to play. Saturday, NU will face off against either UCLA or NC State to close the road trip.

Junior Rheeya Doshi and sophomore Julie Byrne breezed through their preliminary matches of the season, but experience is not NU’s only strong suit as a team. Younger players, freshmen Inci Ogut and Caroline Pozo, have already made contributions as well.

“We learned that we have a very deep team,” Pollard said. “For the first time in a while we have eight players who deserve to be in the lineup.”

NU has lofty ambitions for the year, and these matches could be a springboard into a successful regular season if they deliver a good weekend. However, Pollard is making sure the competitors do not get ahead of themselves.

“We have three goals in mind for this week,” Pollard said. “To be hungry, fresh and prepared.”

Email: calvinalexander2021@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @CalvAlexander

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