Apr. 3, 2014
EVANSTON, Ill. -- No. 37 Northwestern opens spring quarter at home with three scheduled matches, beginning with No. 43 Michigan on Friday at 2:30 p.m. The slate continues on Sunday with No. 73 Michigan State at noon and non-conference opponent IUPUI at 7 p.m. Only three weekends of dual season competition remain before the Big Ten Tournament at the end of April.
The `Cats now hold a 12-9 dual season record and are 1-4 in Big Ten play. They are also 9-2 in Evanston. NU seeks to rebound from two tough losses against highly-ranked opponents last weekend, which caused them to slip nine spots in the national rankings to No. 37.
The singles and doubles rankings have remained the same, with senior Raleigh Smith at No. 37 and freshman Sam Shropshire at No. 113. Smith is 9-6 overall; Shropshire is 12-3 in dual season play and unbeaten in his last seven singles appearances, having won five and left two unfinished. Smith and sophomore Mihir Kumar make up the No. 30 doubles duo, though the two have not played together since before the break.
Michigan is 11-8 overall and 3-2 in conference competition. Presently ranked 43rd in the nation, the Wolverines moved up three spots from their previous position with two Big Ten wins over Iowa and Nebraska last weekend. Alex Petrone is their only ranked singles player at No. 115, and has an even 9-9 dual season record.
MSU is 8-10 this year and 2-3 in Big Ten play. Like Michigan, they also beat Iowa and Nebraska last week, which helped them crack the rankings at No. 73 for the first time since mid-February. Interestingly, the Spartans have only dropped one contest at home this season, but have yet to win a road match. They will travel to Illinois on Friday before visiting Evanston.
IUPUI is the last non-conference team Northwestern will face this season. Currently 3-15 overall, the Jaguars have also played Big Ten members Purdue and Indiana. They will face Chicago State Sunday morning before finishing the night at Northwestern.
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