Mar. 27, 2014
EVANSTON, Ill. -- After a nearly three week rest, the 'Cats return to action for two challenging road matches. No. 28 Northwestern visits No. 2 Ohio State at 5 p.m. on Friday, and No. 23 Penn State at 11 a.m. on Sunday.
The Wildcats are 12-7 on the season and 1-2 in conference play. With the break, NU currently sit at No. 28 in the nation, five spots below their previous rank when they took on Purdue, Indiana, and UIC three weeks ago.
Senior Raleigh Smith is 9-4 in dual match singles and has improved to a new career-high rank of No. 37. Freshman Sam Shropshire now claims the No. 113 spot and boasts a 10-3 singles record in dual match competition. Smith also makes up one half of the current No. 30 doubles team with sophomore Mihir Kumar.
The Buckeyes have enjoyed a successful season so far and are presently 19-2 on the season. They won their first ever ITA National Indoor Championship title in February, and spent the following four consecutive weeks at No. 1. They are undefeated in conference play with wins against Indiana, Penn State, Michigan, and Michigan State.
Peter Kobelt is 13-1 in dual match singles and leads OSU at No. 8. Hunter Callahan is No. 97, and Kevin Metka is No. 109, both of whom are 17-2 in dual match play. The doubles duo of Kobelt and Metka come in at No. 6. Though Ohio State beat NU 6-1 in Evanston last year, Smith achieved a three-set upset over then No. 6 Kobelt.
Penn State is 15-2 on the season and has worked itself into the top-25 after beginning 2014 dual match competition unranked. They are currently 2-1 in Big Ten play, and will host Illinois on Friday before welcoming the `Cats on Sunday.
The Nittany Lions have one ranked singles player in No. 50 Leonard Stakhovsky, who is 13-2 in dual match play. They also boast two ranked doubles teams: No. 28 Stakhovsky and Russell Bader, and No. 54 Michael Reilly and Chris Young. Northwestern has beaten PSU in their last five meetings, the most recent of which was a 5-2 Wildcat win in 2013.
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