Feb. 23, 2012
No. 57 Northwestern (7-2, 0-0 Big Ten) vs. No. 48 North Carolina State (10-1, 0-0 ACC)
Saturday, February 25
Combe Tennis Center
Evanston, Ill. Noon
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Earning its highest ranking since April 2010, No. 57 Northwestern kicks off its last three nonconference matches when North Carolina State makes the trek to the Combe Tennis Center for a noon showdown on Saturday.
This will mark the fourth time the two squads have met, with N.C. State having taken two of the previous three matches. The Wildcats are looking to avenge a tough 5-2 loss last season to the Wolfpack in Raleigh, N.C.
Northwestern is fresh off a commanding 6-1 victory over then-No. 59 New Mexico at home. Sophomore Raleigh Smith led the way for the `Cats, claiming victories at No. 3 singles and with freshman Alex Pasareanu at No. 1 doubles. With the singles triumph, Smith now has a team-best eight wins this spring, to only one loss.
On the No. 1 line, Sidarth Balaji gained a much-needed - and much-deserved - win, taking down UNM's Jadon Phillips, 6-2, 6-4, for his second win of the season. Spencer Wolf won his seventh match of the season, and his third straight, with a thorough victory on Thursday. In total, five `Cats have six wins or better, including senior Josh Graves (7-2) and freshmen Pasareanu (6-3) and Nikhil Jayashankar (6-2).
Though Pasareanu and Smith stepped in nicely at No. 1 doubles to fill a void, the duo of Graves and Wolf leads the charge for the Wildcats, going 6-2 on the year. NU has featured four different lineups at No. 3, but with a 4-1 record, Balaji and Tobias Reitz have half of the line's eight wins.
N.C. State comes into the weekend with a 10-1 record, nine of those victories coming in the comforts of their home Isenhour Tennis Center. Half of the Wolfpack's wins have come by way of a 7-0 victory, and only once has a team reached three points on the Pack.
Robbie Mudge and Jaime Pulgar lead the way for the Wolfpack, combining for a 17-1 singles record. Mudge is a perfect 9-0 on the season, with six wins coming from the No. 3 spot. Pulgar is the steady No. 1 player, earning an 8-1 record at that spot.
Julian Sullivan and Sean Webber form N.C. State's No. 1 doubles tandem, going 7-4 in their matches. The Wolfpack have used several variations at Nos. 2 and 3, but have an 18-3 overall record at both, 9-2 and 9-1, respectively.
Up next, the `Cats travel to Louisville, Ky., to take on Louisville at 4 p.m. CT on Wednesday.
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