Daily file photo by Evan Robinson-Johnson
After an up-and-down regular season, Northwestern is ready for postseason play.
The Wildcats (14-13, 5-6 Big Ten) will head to Ann Arbor, Michigan this weekend for the Big Ten Tournament, where they will be the No. 7 seed in a 12-team bracket. NU will face No. 10 seed Purdue (9-13, 3-8) in a first-round match Thursday. Ohio State, the top-ranked team in the country, is also the No. 1 seed in Ann Arbor.
The Cats rebounded from an 0-4 start to the season to finish above .500. They were an impressive 9-4 at home, compared with the exact inverse, 4-9, on the road. NU defeated the Boilermakers 5-2 in Evanston on Feb. 10, with sophomores Nick Brookes and Antonioni Fasano and freshmen Simen Bratholm and Trice Pickens all winning in singles play.
If the Cats beat Purdue again, they will face No. 15 Illinois (16-7, 10-1), the second seed in the tournament, on Friday. The Fighting Illini shut out NU 4-0 on March 8 in Champaign.
The Cats missed the NCAA Tournament last season for the first time since 2011, and will most likely have to win the Big Ten Tournament in order to avoid missing out again this year.
Although they finished in the middle of the conference standings, the future appears bright for the Cats. NU’s singles lineup includes only one senior — Jason Seidman, who plays the No. 6 spot. The top five slots include two juniors, two freshmen and a sophomore, headlined by junior Dominik Stary at No. 1 and Fasano at No. 2.
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