Women’s Tennis: Northwestern drops agonizingly close match at Oregon


Daily file photo by Noah Frick-Alofs

Erin Larner follows through on a backhand. The senior dropped a tense final singles match in the Wildcats’ loss to Oregon.

Calvin Alexander, Reporter

Women’s Tennis

Northwestern lost a heartbreaker in Eugene, Oregon, this past weekend.

The No. 23 Wildcats (3-3) came into their matchup against Oregon (5-2) after losing to No. 13 UCLA and No. 11 Texas, but the break from ranked opponents didn’t lead to a change in results. The Ducks completed their comeback after being down 3-1, and NU dropped a nailbiter 4-3.

“Recently, there has been a theme of not capitalizing on leads,” coach Claire Pollard said. “We’re too good to be losing these matches.”

After NU took that 3-1 lead, junior Lee Or and freshman Caroline Pozo lost their matches, leaving the teams tied at three points apiece.

The only match left at that point was at the No. 2 singles spot, with all the Cats’ hopes on the shoulders of senior Erin Larner. After splitting the first two sets, she battled to 5-5 in the third set with Oregon’s Shweta Sangwan. However, Sangwan won the final two games of the match and clinched the victory for the Ducks.

The day began on a much better note for the visitors, including Larner. For the sixth time this season, the Cats started off the match by taking the doubles point.

NU has the No. 1 doubles team in the country with seniors Maddie Lipp and Larner and the No. 12 doubles team of Or and senior Alex Chatt. However, in its last three matches, it has struggled to carry over their success into singles.

“We haven’t lost a doubles point yet, and we are proud of that,” Chatt said. “But we need to figure out how to use that momentum in our singles.”

The singles started well for the Cats. After junior Rheeya Doshi lost her match convincingly, teammates Lipp and Chatt put the team back in front by winning both of their matches in straight sets.

The three remaining matches were all very close — in fact, each first set went to a tiebreaker. Unfortunately for the Cats, they were unable to win any of those tiebreakers. The Ducks were down 3-1 at this point, yet poised to win some matches.

Or fought back and won the second set of her match, but she could not sustain her high level of play as she lost the third set 6-0. Pozo was the next to falter, with a tight scoreline of 7-6, 7-5. That result left the teams deadlocked at 3-3.

“We have to be stronger at the bottom of the lineup,” Chatt said. “The top players are so good we will not win those every time.”

After losing the first set in a tiebreaker, Larner took the second, much like her teammate Or, cruising to a 6-1 victory. However, she could not maintain that momentum in the third set.

The Cats have taken at least two points in every match this season, yet their current record is only 3-3.

“When you’re faced with tough losses, you either get tougher or you wilt,” Pollard said. “Each girl is going to need to take a hard look inwardly.”

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