Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Women’s Tennis: Northwestern goes 1-1 in final weekend of regular season

Daily file photo by Henry Frieman
Senior Maria Shusharina and graduate student Britany Lau celebrate after winning a point. The duo went 2-0 this weekend and is 15-1 on the year.

Northwestern’s final weekend of the regular season led the team to road matchups against Ohio State and Penn State, where coach Claire Pollard’s group split the results.

Entering Friday afternoon’s tilt against Ohio State, both teams were tied for second place in the Big Ten with 8-1 conference records. The Buckeyes (17-6, 10-1 Big Ten) ultimately prevailed, hastily defeating the Wildcats (18-6, 9-2 Big Ten) 4-1.

NU won the doubles point, its only point of the match, for the seventh consecutive match. However, unlike their previous six matches, the ’Cats had to rely on a third-match decider to determine which team would win the doubles round of play.

As of late, it has become routine for the No. 1 doubles pairing of graduate student Christina Hand and senior Justine Leong, the nation’s No. 55 team, to win their matches in swift fashion. 

However, Irina Cantos Siemers and Luciana Perry snapped Hand and Leong’s six-match win streak with their 6-3 victory.

Hand and Leong’s loss put pressure on the ‘Cats’ other doubles teams to win their matches. No. 3 duo of senior Maria Shusharina and graduate student Britany Lau won 6-4, extending their collective record to 14-1.

This left the fate of the doubles point in the hands of NU’s No. 2 duo — junior Sydney Pratt and freshman Neena Feldman. They nabbed a 6-3 victory, granting the ’Cats the early 1-0 lead. With the win, Pratt and Feldman remained undefeated together on the season.

Unfortunately for the visitors, the Buckeyes upped their game in singles play.

The first match to conclude play was Leong’s at the No. 2 slot, where she lost to the nation’s No. 51 player Perry 6-3, 6-0. Shortly after, No. 1 Shusharina suffered a 6-3, 6-1 defeat to Cantos Siemers, who is the nation’s No. 17 player. It snapped Shusharina’s nine-match win streak.

With its top two singles players already suffering defeat, NU wasn’t able to dig itself out of its hole. No. 6 Lau fell 6-4, 6-0, and No. 4 Pratt lost 6-0, 6-2. The match ended with the ’Cats losing 4-1.

No. 3 Hand was winning 6-1, 4-4 against Sydni Ratliff — the No. 119 singles player in the nation. Additionally, No. 5 junior Kiley Rabjohns had taken a 7-6(3), 2-1 lead in her match.

Taking a 300-mile trip east to State College, the ’Cats bounced back from Friday’s loss by beating the Nittany Lions (5-16, 4-7 Big Ten) 4-2 Sunday afternoon.

The doubles play was similar to Friday, as the visitors had to win a deciding match to clinch the doubles point. 

The No. 3 pairing of Shusharina and Lau took their second victory of the weekend with a 6-2 victory. Then, No. 2 team Pratt and Feldman lost 6-2. The fate of the doubles point fell in Hand and Leong’s hands.

Playing their last regular season match of their careers together, the veterans found their match against Sofiya Chekhlystova and Karly Friedland going the distance. In a tense showdown, Hand and Leong edged out a 7-6(3) victory, granting the doubles point to NU.

Sarni Tennis Center houses only four indoor courts, so No. 5 Rabjohns and No. 6 Lau had to watch the top four ’Cats take the court before their matches could begin.

No. 2 Leong was in position to win her match in straight sets until Yvonne Zuffova retired due to injury, granting the point to NU. Leong had a 6-3, 5-2 lead. No. 4 Pratt overcame a second set deficit, where she was down a break, to win 6-1, 7-5. Both players had suffered straight set losses two days prior.

However, momentum quickly shifted away from the ’Cats. No. 3 Hand had her four-match win streak snapped, as she lost 6-4, 7-5. No. 1 Shusharina lost her match in a nailbiter third set tiebreak after winning the first set. The final scoreline read 3-6, 6-2, 7-6(2) in her opponent Chekhlystova’s favor after Shusharina lost her 4-1 third set lead.

This meant that the match fell in the hands of Rabjohns and Lau, who saw their matches start much later than the top four.

Lau came out victorious with a 7-5, 6-2 victory, clinching victory for NU. Rabjohns’ match was unfinished, although she had been up a set at 6-4, 4-4.

With the regular season now concluded, the ’Cats will head to Ann Arbor for the Big Ten tournament April 24 to April 28, where they will be the No. 3 seed.

Email: [email protected]

X: @CharlieSpungin

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