Jan. 29, 2011
Site: Evanston, Ill. (Combe Tennis Center)
Score: No. 20 Northwestern 5, No. 44 Harvard 0
Records: NU (1-2, 0-0 Big Ten), Harvard (1-1, 0-0 Ivy League)
Next NU Event: Sunday, Jan. 30 vs. Boise State or Nebraska Evanston 2 p.m. CT
Click Here for Live Stats on Sunday, Jan. 30
EVANSTON, Ill. -- No. 20 Northwestern took the first step toward defending its status as reigning ITA National Indoor Team champions Saturday, holding off a feisty 44th-ranked Harvard squad, 5-0, in the tournament's qualifying round at the Combe Tennis Center. NU earned a trip to the second round where it will face Nebraska at 2 p.m. Sunday.
Two singles matches (No. 1 and No. 5) were abandoned after Northwestern clinched the team victory.
"I thought that we showed a good level of fight in doubles and that we looked a little more comfortable in what we were trying to do in singles than in our last couple matches," said head coach Claire Pollard. "We're getting used to the fact that every match is going to be battle and every point counts."
Northwestern got off to a fast start in doubles, particularly at the top spot where the 30th-ranked tandem of Linda Abu Mushrefova and Nida Hamilton sped to a 4-0 lead on Holly Cao and Samantha Rosekrans. Harvard answered with a break and hold to make it 4-2 and, trailing 5-3, broke once again to set the score at 5-4 in the Wildcats' favor. Abu Mushrefova and Hamilton protected their lead down the stretch, with Hamilton serving out the match as the duo improved to 10-4 overall since the fall season.
It was a similar story at No. 2 with NU's Elena Chernyakova and Brittany Wowchuk led 3-0 before Crimson's Natalie Blosser and Hideko Tachibana prevailed following several deuce points to hold their serve. But NU won three consecutive games to gain control up 6-1 and staved off a late Harvard surge to win, 8-4.
The No. 3 match was a back-and-forth affair between the `Cats' Maria Mosolova
and Belinda Niu
and Harvard's Hannah Morrill and Kristin Norton, with the score even at three through six games. NU then broke serve to take a 5-4 lead and, leading 7-5, put the match away by breaking serve to win 8-5.
In singles play, Northwestern was paced by freshman Belinda Niu at the No. 3 spot, where she blitzed Harvard's Kristin Norton 6-1, 6-0, to improve to 12-4 on the year and give the `Cats a 2-0 lead.
At No. 6, junior Stacey Lee closed out a strong first set, 6-4, by blasting an overhand past Harvard's Samantha Gridley. She carried that momentum into the second, which was never in question as Lee closed it out 6-2.
The clinching point came courtesy of Kate Turvy at No. 4 singles, who came back from a 3-1 deficit in the second set to put the finishing touches on a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Samantha Rosekrans.
The Wildcats claimed another point thanks to Wowchuk at No. 2 singles, who managed to prevail in a tight first set, 6-4, against Hideko Tachibana. Wowchuk then simply wore down Tachibana in the second, moving the ball from side to side en route to a 6-2 win in the final set.
Fans on hand at the Combe Tennis Center were treated to an entertaining No. 1 singles match between Mosolova and Holly Cao, who had met once before in the first round of the 2010 NCAA Singles Championships. Mosolova won that initial matchup but fell behind 3-0 to start the first set on Saturday. She managed to get back on serve at 5-4 and hold to make it 5-5, but Cao went on to close out the set 7-5 with a hold and break.
Cao got off to a 4-2 lead in the second set before the match was abandoned upon Northwestern clinching the team victory. NU freshman Nida Hamilton also had her No. 5 match against Natalie Blosser abandoned after Hamilton had taken the first set, 7-6 (2).
No. 20 Northwestern 5, No. 44 Harvard 0
1: #52 Maria Mosolova (NU) vs. #46 Holly Cao (HVD), 5-7, 2-4, unf.
2: #66 Brittany Wowchuk (NU) def. Hideko Tachibana (HVD), 6-4, 6-2
3: #76 Belinda Niu (NU) def. Kristin Norton (HVD), 6-1, 6-0
4: #120 Kate Turvy (NU) def. Samantha Rosekrans (HVD), 6-3, 6-4
5: Nida Hamilton (NU) vs. Natalie Blosser (HVD), 7-6 (2), 4-5, unf.
6: Stacey Lee (NU) def. Samantha Gridley (HVD), 6-3, 6-2
1: #30 Abu Mushrefova/Hamilton (NU) def. Cao/Rosekrans (HVD), 8-5
2: Chernyakova/Wowchuk (NU) def. Blosser/Tachibana (HVD), 8-4
3: Mosolova/Niu (NU) def. Morrill/Norton (HVD), 8-5
Order of Finish:
Singles (3, 6, 4*, 2)
Doubles (3, 1*, 2)
In the second match of the afternoon, No. 34 Nebraska defeated No. 38 Boise State. Boise State will now meet Harvard at 10 a.m. Sunday prior to Northwestern's match at 2 p.m.
No. 34 Nebraska 5, No. 38 Boise State 2
1: Mary Weatherholt (NEB) def. Lauren Megale (BSU), 6-1, 6-0
2: Sonia Klamczynska (BSU) def. Madeleine Geibert (NEB), 7-5, 6-3
3: Patricia Veresova (NEB) def. Stephanie Jasper (BSU), 7-6, 6-2
4: Stefanie Weinstein (NEB) def. Marlena Pietzuch (BSU), 7-5, 6-4
5: Janine Weinreich (NEB) def. Elyse Edwards (BSU), 6-3, 6-3
6: Jennifer Holmberg (NEB) def. Sandy Vo (BSU), 6-3, 6-1
1: Megale/Pietzuch (BSU) def. Geibert/Weinstein (NEB), 8-4
2: Weatherholt/Veresova (NEB) def. Edwards/Basil (BSU), 8-0
3: Jasper/Vo (BSU) def. Weinreich/Holmberg (NEB), 9-8 (6)
Order of Finish:
Singles (1, 6, 5, 2, 3*, 4)
Doubles (2, 1, 3*)
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