Women’s Tennis: Northwestern advances through NCAA Regional bracket


(Daily file photo by Brian Meng)

Alex Chatt hits a serve. Chatt and the Wildcats rolled through the NCAA Regional with two 4-0 wins this weekend.

Brett Haensel , Reporter

Women’s Tennis

Northwestern punched its ticket to the NCAA Tournament Round of 16 thanks to dominating wins over Buffalo and Kansas State in the regional round it hosted this weekend.

The 14th-seeded Wildcats (23-5, 11-0 Big Ten) trounced both the Bulls (17-4, 8-0 Mid-American) and Kansas State (15-11, 4-5 Big 12) by 4-0 scores in front of large home crowds in Evanston.

“We were just pretty dominant both days; we couldn’t ask for anything better,” senior Alex Chatt said. “Playing at home is indescribable. … We definitely have that home court advantage.”

NU began the weekend by making quick work of Buffalo on Friday, winning both doubles matches 6-0 before cruising to three straight-set singles victories to secure the match win.

Senior Erin Larner and junior Lee Or each didn’t drop a game in the first sets of their respective matches at No. 1 and 2 singles, before closing out wins in the second sets. Junior Rheeya Doshi finished the NU victory by giving up just two games in a 6-1, 6-1 victory at No. 6 singles.

“It’s been a nice weekend,” Or said. “Obviously, we’ve showed we still have stuff to go for and that we want this a lot.”

With the win, the Cats earned their spot in a Round of 32 matchup Saturday with Kansas State, which upset Kentucky 4-3 in its first-round game.

After grinding out the doubles point with wins from seniors Larner and Maddie Lipp and the pair of Doshi and sophomore Julie Byrne, NU managed to repeat its singles success from a day before.

“(Saturday) was a bit hairy in doubles,” coach Claire Pollard said. “(We) got off to some slow starts and didn’t capitalize on some opportunities, but we got through that. Then, I thought we were very dominant, with six first set (wins in singles). We never really let them get any momentum or any hope, and it was really nice to see that we were in control the whole time.”

Indeed, the Cats didn’t let Kansas State put up much of a fight in singles, with Lipp and Or winning decisively before Chatt and Larner raced to secure the match win.

Chatt won the final point of her 6-2, 6-4 singles win at No. 5 singles to give NU its 4-0 victory seconds before Larner also put her opponent away for good.

The Cats now advance to the Round of 16 and will travel to Winston-Salem, North Carolina, to face 3rd-seeded Duke on Thursday. It’s the first time NU has made it to the second weekend of the tournament since the 2012-13 season; the team hasn’t advanced to the final eight since 2009.

“Everyone’s just so invested,” Or said. “Our hard work is paying off. We’re just so hungry to win this. It’s awesome to see.”

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