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    Wildcats Fall Short to No. 17 Tennessee, 4-3

    NUSPORTSDOTCOM Belinda Niu won one of three singles matches for NU Sunday.
    Belinda Niu won one of three singles matches for NU Sunday.

    Feb. 12, 2012


    2012 ITA National Team Indoor Championship Site: Charlottesville, Va. (Boar's Head Athletic Club)
    Score: No. 17 Tennessee 4, No. 12 Northwestern 3
    Records: NU (5-3, 0-0 Big Ten), Tennessee (6-3, 0-0 SEC)
    Next NU Event: Friday, Feb. 24 -- vs. No. 13 Georgia Tech (Evanston, Ill.), 5 p.m.

    CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- No. 12 Northwestern dropped a second straight match for the first time this season as it fell to No. 17 Tennessee, 4-3, in a consolation match at the ITA National Team Indoor Championship at the Boar's Head Athletic Club in Charlottesville, Va.

    The Wildcats, who won this event in both 2009 and 2010, finished the 2012 edition with a 1-2 record. Northwestern knocked off the host school No. 9 Virginia on Friday before falling short against No. 4 UCLA and Tennessee over the past two days.

    The Lady Vols came out firing on all cylinders Sunday as they made quick work of the Wildcats to earn the doubles point. The 18th-ranked team of Brynn Boren and Sarah Toti rushed past Belinda Niu (Portland, Ore./Lincoln) and Nida Hamilton (Oak Brook, Ill./Hinsdale Central) to the tune of 8-1 at the No. 2 position. Kate Turvy (Dublin, Ohio/Dublin Coffman) and Brittany Wowchuk (Toronto, Canada/Oakville Trafalgar) could fair any better for NU against Joanna Henderson and Kata Szekely. Henderson and Szekely won all eight games to secure the early advantage at the turn.

    Tennessee continued to support its cushion by winning the first singles match to finish at No. 4. There, Caitlyn Williams defeated Northwestern's Veronica Corning (Beverly, Mass./Pingree School/Boston College) in straight sets, 6-3, 6-2. Soon Turvy notched the first point of the day for the 'Cats with yet another win over a top-ranked opponent. The junior, ranked 26th, defeated No. 24 Natalie Pluskota, 6-4 and 6-1 to cut the deficit in half.



    The balanced teams continued to trade strikes as UT claimed a victory at No. 5 where Toti bested Linda Abu Mushrefova (Bradenton, Fla./Pendleton) by a score of 6-1, 6-4, leaving the Wildcats in a 3-1 deficit with the match on the line.

    Wowchuk and Niu each put their earlier losses in doubles play in the rearview mirror as they stepped up when their teammates needed them. Niu continued her strong play and won first at No. 3 over Szekely, 6-2, 6-3. Then it was Wowchuk's turn to rip off another impressive upset. The junior, ranked No. 86 by the ITA, took the first set from the 27th-ranked Boren, 6-2 and then outlasted the Lady Vol in the second set tiebreaker to win 7-6 (3). Wowchuk's win evened the overall score at three wins apiece with the match at No. 6 singles headed to the third and deciding set.

    Hamilton won the first set against Henderson, 6-4 before falling in the second, 7-5. Henderson rushed out to a quick 2-0 lead in the third set and she never looked back, going on to win the set, 6-2, to clinch the match in Tennessee's favor.

    Northwestern will take about 12 days off from competition before returning to Combe Tennis Center for High School night on Friday, Feb. 24. The Wildcats will welcome the 13th-ranked Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets for a nonconference match.

    1. Linda Abu Mushrefova/Veronica Corning (NU) vs. Natalie Pluskota/Caitlyn Williams (UT) - 6-3 (unfinished)
    2. No. 18 Brynn Boren/Sarah Toti (UT) def. Belinda Niu/Nida Hamilton (NU) - 8-1
    3. Joanna Henderson/Kata Szekely (UT) def. Kate Turvy/Brittany Wowchuk (NU) - 8-0
    Order of finish: 2, 3*

    1. No. 26 Kate Turvy (NU) def. No. 24 Natalie Pluskota (UT) - 6-4, 6-1
    2. No. 86 Brittany Wowchuk (NU) def. No. 27 Brynn Boren (UT) - 6-2, 7-6 (3)
    3. Belinda Niu (NU) def. Kata Szekely (UT) - 6-2, 6-3
    4. Caitlyn Williams (UT) def. Veronica Corning (NU) - 6-3, 6-2
    5. Sarah Toti (UT) def. Linda Abu Mushrefova (NU) - 6-1, 6-4
    6. Joanna Hamilton (UT) vs. Nida Hamilton (NU) - 4-6, 7-5, 6-2
    Order of finish: 4, 1, 5, 3, 2, 6*


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