Feb. 2, 2008
ATLANTA -- In college tennis' first marquee dual of 2008, the seventh-ranked Northwestern Wildcats defeated No. 1 Georgia Tech in convincing fashion Saturday in Atlanta, 6-1. Ninth-ranked Georgia Rose put the Wildcats ahead for good and Suzie Matzenauer clinched NU's win over the defending national champions.
With the win, Northwestern improves to a perfect 3-0 on the year. The loss drops Georgia Tech to 2-1. The win not only avenges GT's win over the Wildcats at Combe Tennis Center from last season, but also snaps a 19-match home winning streak for the Yellow Jackets. NU has handed Tech it's last two home losses. The dual was first between two top-10 teams this season.
NU started sluggish in the doubles portion of the dual, falling behind a break on all three courts. At No. 1, the seventh-ranked pair of Lauren Lui and Samantha Murray trailed 4-1 to Kristi Miller and Kirsten Flower, but fought back to take a lead.
The same was true for the No. 3 tandem of Nazlie Ghazal and Maria Mosolova, who fought back from an early hole to take a late lead. Mosolova and Ghazal gave NU a doubles victory with a 8-6 win over Noelle Hickey and Christy Striplin, 8-6.
After Whitney McCray and Amanda McDowell defeated Rose and Matzenauer at No. 2, 8-3, the decisive doubles point was left to be determined by the match at No. 1 with the Wildcats holding a slim lead. Lui and Murray closed out their match and gave NU an important 1-0 lead with an 8-5 win.
Last year at the Combe Tennis Center, NU captured the doubles point, but Tech rattled off four singles wins to take the dual. The Wildcats would not allow this to happen again as they took five-of-six singles matches.
It did not look good for NU early in singles as the second-ranked Mosolova and the ninth-ranked Rose dropped sets at No. 1 and No. 2, respectively. However, the 20th-ranked Murray earned a 6-3 win in her first set.
The seventh-ranked Miller defeated Mosolova at No. 1, 6-2, 6-3 to even the match score at 1-1, but that would be Tech's last point of the evening.
Rose and Murray would both play third sets as the 22nd-ranked McCray took the second set 7-5 over Murray and Rose would storm back to take her second set over the third-ranked McDowell, 6-2. Both Wildcats would win their matches to give NU a 3-1 lead. Rose took her match, 0-6, 6-2, 6-1, and Murray's victory came by a 6-3, 5-7, 6-2 score.
The other three singles matches took to the courts and while Lui and Ghazal were wrapped up in tight first-set battles at No. 4 and No. 5, respectively, Matzenauer took a convincing first set over the 56th-ranked Hickey, 6-3.
In a crucial point of the match, NU put the pressure on the Yellow Jackets by taking first sets at No. 4 and No. 5. Lui won her first set over the sixth-ranked Maya Johansson, 7-6 (6) and Ghazal earned a first-set victory over the 38th-ranked Striplin, 6-4.
Matzenauer clinched the dual and gave NU a 4-1 lead with a 6-3, 6-2 victory at No. 6. The Wildcats put the exclamation points on its victory when Lui and Ghazal both won in straight sets.
The Wildcats return to action Thursday at the ITA National Indoor Championships in Madison, Wis.
No. 1 - #7 Lui/Murray (NU) def. Miller/Flower (GT), 8-5
No. 2 - McCray/McDowell (GT) def. Rose/Matzenauer (NU), 8-3
No. 3 - Ghazal/Mosolova (NU) def. Hickey/Striplin (GT), 8-6
No. 1 - #7 Miller (GT) def. #2 Mosolova (NU), 6-2, 6-3
No. 2 - #9 Rose (NU) def. #3 McDowell (GT) 0-6, 6-2, 6-1
No. 3 - #20 Murray (NU) def. #22 McCray (GT), 6-3, 5-7, 6-2
No. 4 - #68 Lui (NU) def. #6 Johansson (GT), 7-6 (6), 6-2
No. 5 - #99 Ghazal (NU) def. #38 Striplin (GT), 6-4, 6-3
No. 6 - Matzenauer (NU) def. #56 Hickey (GT), 6-3, 6-2