April 9, 2011
Site: Evanston, Ill. (Combe Tennis Center)
Score: No. 16 Northwestern 6, Iowa 1
Records: NU (13-5, 5-0 Big Ten) Iowa (5-12, 2-4 Big Ten)
Next NU Event: Sunday, April 10 vs. Illinois Evanston, Ill. 11 a.m. CT
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern head coach Claire Pollard earned the 300th victory of her 13-year NU career Saturday as her 16th-ranked Wildcats handled Big Ten foe Iowa in convincing fashion, 6-1, at the Combe Tennis Center. The 'Cats took two doubles matches and won the first three singles matches to finish to secure their eighth-straight win and remain in the hunt for a Big Ten championship.
Pollard's milestone win lifted her impressive career record at Northwestern to 300-64, a winning percentage of .824. She has averaged just under 24 wins per season during her time in Evanston, and on Saturday coached Northwestern to its 13th victory of the year and a 5-0 record at the halfway point of the Big Ten regular season.
"I've always said that the key to being a successful coach is having good players so you can see I've had a lot of good players over the years," Pollard said. "We've having a nice run right now, we started out a little slow today in some areas but I thought we picked up the level as the match went on."
NU jumped out to a 1-0 lead due to the outstanding play from No. 2 and No. 3 doubles. NU's No. 3 team, Elena Chernyakova and Brittany Wowchuk, got off to a very quick start and never looked back, downing Iowa's Cassandra Escobar and Ally Majercik, 8-0. Chernyakova and Wowchuk are now a formidable 8-1 in doubles play this season.
Maria Mosolova and Belinda Niu secured the first team point for the 'Cats at No. 2 doubles. After finding themselves trailing the Hawkeyes' Alexis Dorr and Christina Harazin 3-1, Mosolova and Niu found their stride and finished the set with a 7-2 run to win, 8-5, for their 10th doubles win this year.
The Hawkeyes avoided a sweep, however, as Sonja Molnar and Jessica Young defeated NU's No. 1 pair, Linda Abu Mushrefova
and Nida Hamilton
, in a tightly contested battle. The two teams went back and forth, but after Abu Mushrefova and Hamilton had a 5-3 lead, Molnar and Young strung together four straight wins en route to an 8-6 victory.
With the team score at 1-0, the 'Cats turned their attention to the singles portion. NU took a quick 2-0 lead after Iowa's Alexis Dorr retired due to a back injury, giving sophomore Kate Turvy a 5-3 win by default. Only a matter of minutes later, Nida Hamilton finished off Cassandra Escobar, 6-1, 6-0, at the No. 6 position. At No. 5 singles, Linda Abu Mushrefova followed closely behind with a 6-1, 6-0 victory of her own over Iowa's Ally Majercik, giving Northwestern the winning fourth point.
Freshman Belinda Niu improved her singles record this year to 14-3 with a tough, yet convincing win over the Hawkeyes' No 2. Jessica Young, 6-3, 6-3. At No. 4, meanwhile, Brittany Wowchuk fought back after losing the first set to Christina Harazin, 5-7. Wowchuk won the second set with incredible ease, 6-1, forcing a third. Because the match had already been claimed by Northwestern, the two No. 4s dueled it out to a first-to-ten third set, which Harazin eventually won, 10-6, giving the Hawkeyes their only point of the day.
A beautiful game of tennis was played at the No. 1 spot by both Sonja Molnar and Maria Mosolova. Molnar took the first set, 7-5, keeping Mosolova guessing on nearly every shot. But the senior battled back and found a groove to win the second set handily, 6-1, and force a tiebreaker.
Mosolova trailed early but fought to tie it up at six before Molnar won the next two points, threatening to hand Mosolova her first singles defeat this season. But the senior Wildcat rattled off four straight points to win the set and close out the match, improving her record to a perfect 14-0 on the season.
Next up for Northwestern is a date with instate rival Illinois at 11 a.m. on Sunday. Weather permitting, the match will be played at Vandy Christie Tennis Center. Stay tuned for more information leading up to the match at NUsports.com.
Claire Pollard at Northwestern -- Year-by-Year:
1999: 19-5, 9-1 Big Ten
2000: 24-5, 8-2 Big Ten
2001: 24-5, 10-0 Big Ten
2002: 23-6, 10-0 Big Ten
2003: 19-9, 8-2 Big Ten
2004: 25-5, 9-1 Big Ten
2005: 26-3, 10-0 Big Ten
2006: 24-5, 10-0 Big Ten
2007: 23-5, 10-0 Big Ten
2008: 29-2, 10-0 Big Ten
2009: 28-2, 10-0 Big Ten
2010: 23-7, 9-1 Big Ten
2011: 13-5, 5-0 Big Ten
No. 16 Northwestern 6, Iowa 1
1: #16 Maria Mosolova (NU) def. #101 Sonja Molnar (IA), 5-7, 6-1, 1-0 (10-8)
2: #74 Belinda Niu (NU) def. Jessica Young (IA), 6-3, 6-3
3: #92 Kate Turvy (NU) def. Alexis Dorr (IA), 5-3 (Ret.)
4: Christina Harazin (IA) def. #50 Brittany Wowchuk (NU), 7-5, 1-6, 1-0 (10-6)
5: Linda Abu Mushrefova (NU) def. Ally Majercik (IA), 6-1, 6-0
6: Nida Hamilton (NU) def. Cassandra Escobar (IA), 6-1, 6-0
1: Molnar/Young (IA) def. Abu Mushrefova/Hamilton (NU), 8-4
2: Mosolova/Niu (NU) def. Dorr/Harazin (IA), 8-5
3: Chernyakova/Wowchuk (NU) def. Escobar/Majercik (IA), 8-0
Order of Finish:
Singles (3, 6, 5*, 2, 4, 1)
Doubles (3, 2*, 1)
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