April 4, 2012
Site: South Bend, Ind. (Courtney Tennis Center)
Score: No. 14 Northwestern 4, No. 18 Notre Dame 3
Records: NU (11-7, 4-1 Big Ten), ND (14-6, 3-0 BIG EAST)
Next NU Event: Saturday, April 7 at Michigan State (East Lansing, Mich.) Noon
SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- In a fitting end between two evenly matched programs, Northwestern and Notre Dame came down to the wire in a three-set battle in singles play on Wednesday in South Bend. The 14th-ranked Wildcats clawed their way to a 4-3 victory over the 18th-ranked Fighting Irish with some impressive performances, even after losing the doubles point.
The 'Cats kept things even with the Fighting Irish through the beginning of doubles play, but all three Notre Dame courts enjoyed 4-1 streaks at various times to ultimately knock NU off balance. At No. 1, Northwestern's Linda Abu Mushrefova and Nida Hamilton were back in action together for the first time in four matches. The Wildcat duo started off well against the fifth-ranked team in the nation, Kristy Frilling and Shannon Matthews, but after tying things up at 2-2, Abu Mushrefova and Hamilton surrendered six of the final seven games, losing the match, 8-3.
Veronica Corning and Kate Turvy, playing together for only the second time this season, jumped out to a 2-1 advantage over No. 67 Britney Sanders and Julie Sabacinski, but failed to keep the early momentum. The Irish went on a 7-1 run to close out the match to earn an 8-3 victory, clinching the doubles point for the home squad.
A back-and-forth battle ensued on court No. 3 between NU's Brittany Wowchuk and Belinda Niu and ND's Jennifer Kellner and Chrissie McGaffigan. Wowchuk and Niu scratched their way to a 4-3 lead, but after Kellner and McGaffigan took a 5-4 lead, the Irish never looked back, claiming the match 8-5.
Heading into singles play down one point in the team score, the Wildcats tried at all costs to even the leger. All but two `Cats, however, found themselves down in the early going, and Veronica Corning
was the first to finish on the day. The sophomore fought hard, but dropped her only first match in her last seven appearances, this time to Notre Dame's Britney Sanders, 6-1, 6-0.
NU's 21st-ranked singles player, Kate Turvy, kept the Wildcats on track, though, down 2-0. Turvy flew by No. 54 Shannon Matthews in two quick sets, beating the Irish senior, 6-3, 6-2. Notre Dame bounced back and earned a win on court No. 2 as No. 95 Kristy Frilling downed Belinda Niu in two sets, 6-1, 6-4. Niu started her second set strong, jumping out to a 4-1 lead, but the sophomore slipped up and yielded the final five games of the match to Frilling.
Down 3-1, Northwestern turned to Nos. 5 and 6 for assistance. At No. 6, Nida Hamilton extended her impressive four-match win streak to five with a two-set victory over Julie Sabacinski, 6-2, 6-3. Inserted back into the lineup for the first time in three matches was Linda Abu Mushrefova at No. 6. Abu Mushrefova rocketed out of the gates to blank Chrissie McGaffin in the first set, but the Notre Dame junior fought her way back in the second to make things interesting. Abu Mushrefova was up 5-2, but McGaffin recorded two straight wins to cut into the lead -- but to no avail. Abu Mushrefova polished McGaffin off in a two-set win, 6-0, 6-4, knotting things up at three apiece with one final court to play.
No. 62 Brittany Wowchuk and Jennifer Kellner completed the only three-set match on the day for the decider at No. 3 singles. Kellner took the first set with ease, 6-2, but Wowchuk went into second gear after the set. The junior 'Cat lost only two games combined in the final two sets to finish off Kellner. With her 2-6, 6-1, 6-1 win, Wowchuk clinched the thrilling match for Northwestern, 4-3.
Up next, the 'Cats head to the Wolverine state to take on Michigan State at noon on Saturday and Michigan at noon on Sunday.
1: No. 5 Kristy Frilling/Shannon Mathews (ND) def. No. 16 Linda Abu Mushrefova/Nida Hamilton (NU) - 8-3
2: No. 67 Britney Sanders/Julie Sabacinski def. Veronica Corning/Kate Turvy (NU) - 8-3
3: Jennifer Kellner/Chrissie McGaffigan (ND) def. Brittany Wowchuk/Belinda Niu (NU) - 8-5
Order of finish: (1, 2*, 3)
1: No. 21 Kate Turvy (NU) def. No. 54 Shannon Matthews (ND) - 6-3, 6-2
2: No. 95 Kristy Frilling (ND) def. Belinda Niu (NU) - 6-1, 6-4
3: No. 62 Brittany Wowchuk (NU) def. Jennifer Kellner (ND) - 2-6, 6-1, 6-1
4: Britney Sanders (ND) def. Veronica Corning (NU) - 6-1, 6-0
5: Linda Abu Mushrefova (NU) def. Chrissie McGaffigan (ND) - 6-0, 6-4
6: Nida Hamilton (NU) def. Julie Sabacinski (ND) - 6-2, 6-3
Order of finish: 4, 1, 2, 6, 5, 3*
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