Women’s Tennis: Northwestern hits the road for Kansas doubleheader this weekend


Charlotte Che/The Daily Northwestern

Senior Clarissa Hand and sophomore Maria Shusharina high five after a point. Northwestern travels to Kansas for a doubleheader this weekend.

Alex Cervantes, Reporter

Wildcats, Wildcats and Jayhawks, oh my!

After a pair of perfect sweeps to cap off February play, No. 42 Northwestern heads down the yellow brick road (or I-55 South) for a pair of doubleheaders in Kansas this weekend.

The Wildcats’ (4-3, 0-0 Big Ten) first leg of the journey stops in Manhattan, Kan. for a matchup with Kansas State. The battle is not only one of the last non-conference matches of the season for NU, but it also provides a prime opportunity to decide which “Wildcat” school is superior. 

The visiting Cats had a two-week rest and are in search of a fourth straight victory. Over its previous three matches, NU has dropped only one point. 

Senior Clarissa Hand continues to lead the way at the No. 1 singles spot — winning two straight — and has climbed to 70th in the latest Intercollegiate Tennis Association poll. First-year Sydney Pratt and graduate student Ema Lazic have also been integral pieces in singles play for coach Claire Pollard. Both Pratt and Lazic are unbeaten in their last three matches. 

In a matchup where the school nicknames and colors mirror each other, KSU also has a boost of momentum. Kansas State snapped a two-game losing streak on Wednesday in a win over No. 68 Nebraska. 

KSU also has a pair of ranked singles players in the ITA rankings in No. 96 Karine-Marion Job and No. 108 Rosanna Maffei. In her most recent matchup, Job secured a three-set victory at No. 1 against the Cornhuskers, while Maffei fell in straight sets at No. 3. 

Following the match against KSU, the Cats have a quick turnaround as they travel to Lawrence, Kan. to face the No. 39 Jayhawks. Kansas is coming off the heels of a narrow 4-3 loss to Arizona State last week and will have a match against Illinois before NU arrives in town.

Much like their in-state rivals, the Jayhawks have a pair of nationally-ranked singles players. Maria Titova jumped three spots from her previous rankings to No. 63, with Malkia Ngounoue ranked at 121. Both players needed all three sets to win against the Sun Devils, but were unable to propel their team to victory. 

Much like Dorothy, these Cats will find themselves in a different place, but will look to build upon the foundations laid at Combe Tennis Center in February. 

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Twitter: @CervantesPAlex 

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