Feb. 29, 2012
Site: Louisville, Ky. (Baas-Ruud Tennis Center)
Score: No. 30 Louisville 5, No. 49 Northwestern 2
Records: NU (7-4, 0-0 Big Ten), Louisville (9-4, 0-0 BIG EAST)
Next NU Event: Sunday, March 4 -- vs. Denver (Evanston, Ill.), 11 a.m.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Northwestern fell short in its second straight match on Wednesday night, falling on the road against a quality opponent in the Louisville Cardinals, 5-2, at the Baas-Ruud Tennis Center in the Bluegrass State.
After dropping the first two games of their doubles match on the second line, NU's Spencer Wolf (Coral Springs, Fla./Laurel Springs) and partner Eric Spector (Northbrook, Ill./Glenbrook North) began to charge back. The 'Cats would pull to within a game of the Cardinals on three separate occasions. Nursing a 4-3 advantage, Louisville rattled off wins in three straight games to extend its cushion and eventually win the match, 8-3.
The match between Northwestern's Alex Pasareanu (Bluffton, S.C./Heritage), his partner Raleigh Smith (Miami, Fla./Gulliver Prep) and Louisville's 34th-ranked duo of Andrew Carter and Albert Wagner was controlled by the Cardinals from the onset. Louisville won six consecutive games to begin the contest before Pasareanu and Smith dented the scoreboard. Carter and Wagner would go on to clinch the doubles point and give UL an early 1-0 lead with an 8-2 triumph.
Sidarth Balaji (Fairfax, Va./Fairfax) and Chris Jackman (Key Biscayne, Fla./Gulliver Prep) paired up for the fourth time this season to form the No. 3 doubles squad for the Wildcats. In this battle it was the visitors who broke out to an early advantage, leading 4-2 midway through the match. Louisville's Michael Lippens and Sumit Gupta won the next two games to tie things up, but Balaji and Jackman then tallied two wins in their favor to lead 6-4.
Louisville would go on to win four straight games to grab a 7-6 lead, but the 'Cats refused to surrender. After tying it up at seven games apiece, NU dropped the following two games to surrender the match, 9-7.
The Cardinals continued to push the tempo as the six singles matches began. Carter got his team off to quick start by taking the first set from Balaji with ease, 6-0. Carter followed that up by winning the second frame by an identical score to give his team a 2-0 lead for the match.
Jackman was also downed in straight sets Wednesday. The junior fell to Chris Simich in the No. 6 match, 6-3 and 6-1.
Nikhil Jayashankar (Saratoga, Calif./Saratoga) also held a narrow advantage in his premier set at No. 5, before ultimately falling by two games to Robert Hall, 6-4 in the first. In all, Louisville won four of six opening singles sets against the Wildcats. Hall continued to control the tempo into the second set as he rushed to a 4-0 lead before claiming a 6-1 victory, UL's third singles win.
Pasareanu dropped the first set at No. 4 to Lippens, 6-2. The newcomer bounced back in the second set and grabbed a 4-3 lead to help stave off elimination. Unfortunately Pasareanu could not maintain the advantage as he fell narrowly, 7-6. The win by Lippens clinched the match in favor of the home team.
Smith produced the first victorious stanza for the 'Cats, winning 6-3 over Wagner on the third line. The set was tied at three games apiece before the NU sophomore notched three straight game winners to secure the set, 6-3. The Floridian kept his foot on the gas and cruised to another triumph in the second, this time 6-1.
Wolf led in the first, 4-1, over his opponent Stiefelmeyer before dropping five of the next seven games. In the end, the junior who occupied the top line for the 'Cats won the frame, 7-6. Like Smith, Wolf maintained the advantage in his match and prospered in another close frame, 7-5.
The Wildcats will return home to Combe Tennis Center for the final nonconference match of the year on Sunday, March 4 at 11 a.m. The tilt will be the third all time between Northwestern and the Pioneers, with each team having won one of the previous two meetings. Big Ten play begins Friday, March 9 when the 'Cats welcome instate rival Illinois at 6 p.m.
1. No. 34 Andrew Carter/Albert Wagner (UL) def. Raleigh Smith/Alex Pasareanu (NU) - 8-2
2. Sebastian Stiefelmeyer/Robert Hall (UL) def. Spencer Wolf/Eric Spector (NU) - 8-3
3. Michael Lippens/Sumit Gupta (UL) def. Sidarth Balaj/Chris Jackman (NU) - 9-7
Order of finish: 2, 1*, 3
1. Spencer Wolf (NU) def. Sebastian Stiefelmeyer (UL) - 7-6, 7-5
2. Andrew Carter (UL) def. Sidarth Balaji (NU) - 6-0, 6-0
3. Raleigh Smith (NU) def. Albert Wagner (UL) - 6-3, 6-1
4. Michael Lippens (UL) def. Alex Pasareanu (NU) - 6-2, 7-6
5. Robert Hall (UL) def. Nikhil Jayashankar (NU) - 6-4, 6-1
6. Chris Simich (UL) def. Chris Jackman (NU) - 6-3, 6-1
Order of finish: 2, 6, 5*, 4, 3, 1
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