Women’s Tennis: No. 17 Northwestern hosting 2021 NCAA Division I Women’s Tennis Championship opening round


Daily file photo by Alison Albeda

Julie Byrne goes for the ball. Byrne has been part of a dynamic doubles pair with Briana Crowley this season.

Charlotte Varnes, Assistant Sports Editor

Women’s Tennis

For the 25th straight time, Northwestern is dancing.

The No. 17 Wildcats (18-5, 17-4 Big Ten) will compete in the NCAA Division Women’s Tennis Championship opening round on May 7 and 8. NU will host Texas A&M, Drake and Xavier in Evanston for the first and second rounds, taking on Xavier in its first tournament match. 

The Cats haven’t missed a trip to the NCAA Division I Women’s Tennis Championship since 1998. All 25 consecutive runs have come under coach Claire Pollard, who has led the program since 1999. This is the 31st time in program history the team has made the tournament.

NU had a successful regular season, remaining in the top 10 for multiple weeks after entering the season unranked. The team dominated Big Ten play, only losing to four conference opponents prior to the Big Ten Tournament. 

However, two of those losses came right at the end of the regular season. The Cats lost back-to-back matches against Illinois and Michigan in their last two regular season matches, causing them to fall from No. 7 nationally to No. 17. 

The purple-and-white broke their losing streak in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals, prevailing over Minnesota 4-0. The team subsequently fell to Michigan 4-1 in the tournament semifinals. 

Now, the Cats look to build on previous success in the NCAA Division I Women’s Tennis Championship. The team has reached the round-of-16 13 times during the past 25 years, in addition to making the national quarterfinals three times.

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Twitter: @charvarnes11

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