Apr. 10, 2014
EVANSTON, Ill. -- No. 34 Northwestern hits the road for the last time of the 2014 dual match regular season this weekend. The `Cats face No. 62 Nebraska on Friday at 3 p.m., and head to Iowa for a noon contest on Sunday.
Presently 15-9 on the season and 3-4 in conference play, NU enjoyed a successful home-stand last weekend in beating then No. 43 Michigan, No. 73 Michigan State, and IUPUI. The Wildcats matched their three victories with a three-spot ascent to their current national ranking of No. 34.
Senior Raleigh Smith weathered some tough matches in the past couple weekends and dropped to No. 54 in singles rankings this week. In doubles, however, he has reclaimed success with sophomore Mihir Kumar. The pair won all three of their matches last weekend and are now No. 23 in the nation.
Freshman Sam Shropshire checks in at No. 125 in singles. Boasting a 14-3 dual match record and 18-5 overall, he is currently on a seven-match win streak. The dynamic freshman has not lost in his last ten singles contests and is undefeated (6-0) against Big Ten opponents.
Fellow classmate Strong Kirchheimer is also on an unbeaten spree. With a 14-4 dual match record and 19-6 overall, Kirchheimer has strung together seven straight singles victories too and won his five most recent contests.
Nebraska is 11-10 overall and 3-4 in the Big Ten, having just picked up a 4-3 win over Iowa on Wednesday. The Huskers moved up four spots to their current rank of No. 62, but they do not have any ranked singles or doubles players.
Like Northwestern, Nebraska has a win against Indiana and a loss versus Purdue, but it fell to both Michigan and Michigan State a few weeks ago. The `Cats are undefeated against the Huskers in their very short history, having beaten them in both 2013 and 2012.
Iowa is 9-10 on the season with a 1-6 record against conference opponents. The Hawkeyes began 2014 well in non-conference play and gained an early Big Ten victory over Minnesota. However, they have now lost seven in a row, including two recent 4-3 heartbreakers against Indiana and Nebraska.
With no ranked players, the Hawkeyes will host No. 11 Illinois on Friday before Northwestern comes to town. The `Cats have beaten Iowa in their last four meetings, two of which were in 2013 (one during the regular season, one in the Big Ten tournament).
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