Women’s Tennis: Northwestern looks to build on team’s experience


Daily file photo by Joshua Hoffman

Combe Tennis Center, home to the Northwestern women’s tennis program. The team’s previous season was cut short due to COVID-19.

Ellen O'Brien, Reporter

Women’s Tennis

After losing 2-5 to No. 2 Ohio State on March 7, Northwestern was prepared to bounce back, with upcoming matches scheduled against Big Ten rivals Minnesota and Wisconsin.

That match ended up being the last of the year, as the COVID-19 pandemic cut the team’s season short. While they never got their opportunity to rebound and advance to the Big Ten Tournament, the Wildcats, who ultimately finished their season 5-6, will look to their newcomers to support the team’s eight returners. That group includes graduate student transfer Zoë Spence, who finished her senior season 9-8 in singles play at Notre Dame, as well as freshmen Aino Alkio and Maria Shusharina.

The Cats will return their entire team from the previous season, including graduate student Julie Byrne, who is using an additional year of NCAA eligibility. Byrne earned a unanimous selection to the All-Big Ten team in her senior season. Junior Clarissa Hand, who went 4-4 in singles play, will be another dominant force on the court. Hand earned a spot in the NCAA singles championship in 2019, advancing to the second round.

While the Cats were unable to qualify for their 25th consecutive NCAA Tournament, due to the tournament’s cancellation, the team will attempt to continue their streak in Spring 2021.

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