Apr. 20, 2014
EVANSTON, Ill. -- No. 35 Northwestern claimed a decisive 7-0 victory over No. 51 Minnesota to conclude the dual match regular season and celebrate Senior Day. The Wildcats finished on a seven-match win streak and have not lost in the month of April. They currently hold a 19-9 record overall and are 7-4 in the Big Ten.
Like on Friday, the doubles point required three matches to decide, but the `Cats emerged victorious once again. Freshman Strong Kirchheimer and sophomore Fedor Baev began with an early lead at No. 3, and topped Juan Pablo Ramirez and Franz Sydow 8-4. The victory marks their fifth in a row amidst a six-match unbeaten streak.
At No. 2, freshman Sam Shropshire and junior Alex Pasareanu achieved a mid-match break to go up 5-3, but their Gopher opponents then claimed breaks of their own to win 8-6 and even the score.
The No. 33 duo of senior Raleigh Smith and sophomore Mihir Kumar battled No. 20 Jack Hamburg and Mathieu Froment in the deciding match at No. 1. The Gophers fended off several match points to make for a chippy last game, but the `Cats ultimately held serve to prevail 8-5 and secure the point for NU.
In singles play, the first three Wildcats to finish kept each of their winning streaks intact and secured the Northwestern win. First, No. 112 Shropshire defeated Ruben Weber 6-3, 6-1 at No. 2 to put the `Cats up 2-0. With the victory, the freshman notched his eleventh consecutive win and finished an incredible undefeated run (10-0) in Big Ten regular season singles play.
Junior Alex Pasareanu
then beat Juan Pablo Ramirez 6-3, 6-2 at No. 6 to secure his eighth win in a row and add another NU point. Soon after, Kirchheimer clinched the Wildcat victory at No. 5 with a 7-6 (7-0), 6-2 win over Eric Frueh. With the victory, Kirchheimer extended his win streak to eleven and completed a 10-1 record against Big Ten opponents.
With the match decided, play continued at numbers 1, 3, and 4. After dropping a close first set, freshman Konrad Zieba pulled out second frame and super-breaker wins to triumph 6-7 (0-7), 6-3, 1-0 (10-3) at No. 3. Kumar then recorded the Wildcats' sixth point with a 6-2, 5-7, 6-3 win at No. 4 over Mathieu Froment.
In the last home match of his career, No. 58 Smith beat No. 39 Leandro Toledo at No. 1 to conculde the afternoon. After a narrow first frame victory by Smith, Toledo controlled the second set to force a third. In the final set, neither player could hold serve and broke each other several times, ultimately going to a tiebreaker. In the end, Smith prevailed 6-7 (7-0), 0-6, 7-6 (7-4) to end Senior Day on a high note, and round out the final score of 7-0.
The `Cats travel to East Lansing, Mich. next weekend for the Big Ten Tournament. They will play as the No. 5 seed against 12th-seeded Iowa in the first round on Thursday.
#35 Northwestern 7, #51 Minnesota 0
1. #33 Raleigh Smith / Mihir Kumar (NU) def. #20 Jack Hamburg / Mathieu Froment (MINN) 8-5
2. Leandro Toledo / Eric Frueh (MINN) def. Sam Shropshire / Alex Pasareanu (NU) 8-6
3. Fedor Baev / Strong Kirchheimer (NU) def. Juan Pablo Ramirez / Franz Sydow (MINN) 8-4
Order of finish: 3, 2, 1*
1. #58 Raleigh Smith (NU) def. #39 Leandro Toledo, 7-6 (7-0), 0-6, 7-6 (7-4)
2. #112 Sam Shropshire (NU) def. Ruben Weber (MINN) 6-3, 6-1
3. Konrad Zieba (NU) def. Jack Hamburg (MINN) 6-7 (0-7), 6-3, 1-0 (10-3)
4. Mihir Kumar (NU) def. Mathieu Froment (MINN) 6-2, 5-7, 6-3
5. Strong Kirchheimer (NU) def. Eric Frueh (MINN) 7-6 (7-0), 6-2
6. Alex Pasareanu (NU) def. Juan Pablo Ramirez (MINN) 6-3, 6-2
Order of Finish: 2, 6, 5*, 3, 4, 1