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    Ninth-Ranked Wildcats Stay Perfect in Big Ten With 6-1 Win Over Illinois

    NUSPORTSDOTCOM No. 24 Alexis Prousis clinched the match for Northwestern with a win at No. 3 singles.
    NUSPORTSDOTCOM
    No. 24 Alexis Prousis clinched the match for Northwestern with a win at No. 3 singles.
    NUSPORTSDOTCOM

    April 15, 2006

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Northwestern's ninth-ranked women's tennis team swept the doubles matches and won five singles contests in a 6-1 victory over Illinois Saturday at the Atkins Tennis Center. The Wildcats improve their conference record to a league-best 8-0 with the win. Twenty fourth-ranked junior Alexis Prousis (Lake Forest, Ill./Lake Forest) clinched the match for Northwestern with a win at No. 3 singles.

    The Wildcats wasted little time gaining an edge on the Illini as they outscored their opponent 24-12 in doubles, taking an early 1-0 lead.

    Senior Jamie Peisel (Savannah, Ga./Savannah Country Day) and freshman Nazlie Ghazal (Temecula, Calif./Chaparral) won easily at No. 3 doubles, beating Illinois' Mornei Qu and Alejandra Meza Cuadra 8-1. The two now have won eight of their last nine contests.

    Freshman Georgia Rose (Mettawa, Ill./North Shore Country Day) and senior Feriel Esseghir (Sarasota, Fla./Brickhouse Academy) clinched the doubles point for the 'Cats with an 8-4 win over Brianna Knue and Shivani Dave at No. 2. The duo is 10-1 in dual matches this season and has won in each of its last six tries.

    Nu's 10th-ranked tandem of senior All-American Cristelle Grier (Epsom, England/Putney) and Prousis capped off the doubles sweep for the Wildcats with a win at No. 1. With the score knotted at 7-7, the 'Cats' duo took a 10-8 tiebreaker to claim the win.

    Rose picked up in singles right where she left off in doubles, earning a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Qu at No. 2. The reigning Big Ten Athlete of the Week has won her last 24 singles contests and is four wins shy of matching Grier's school record of 28. She is now 20-0 this season in dual matches.

     

     

    Peisel made it 3-0 Northwestern with a win at No. 4. She gave up only four games to Wang, winning 6-1, 6-3. The senior has won eight of her last 10 matches and improves to 6-2 in Big Ten play with the win.

    Prousis then gave Northwestern its eighth conference win with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Knue at No. 3, giving her 30 wins overall this year.

    Esseghir made it 5-0 Northwestern when she topped Dave in a third-set tiebreaker. After dropping the first set, she rallied to take the 2-6, 6-3, 1-0 (4) win.

    Ghazal improved her dual record to 16-3 when she beat Cuadra 6-4, 6-2 at No. 6.

    No. 8 Grier was the only Wildcats to drop a match on the day as she was edged in a third-set tiebreaker by Harkins. With the first-set score tied at 6 games apiece, Harkins pulled out in front in the tiebreaker for the win. Grier rebounded by shutting her out in the second set, but Harkins rallied to win the third-set tiebreaker and take the match 6-7 (4), 6-0, 1-0 (8).

    Northwestern improves to 16-4 this season, 8-0 in league play with the win. The Wildcats return to action at 11 a.m. Sunday, April 16 at Purdue.

    ILLINOIS 1, No. 9 Northwestern 6
    Atkins Tennis Center
    Urbana, Ill.
    Singles:
    1. No. 95 Macall Harkins (ILL) def. No. 8 Cristelle Grier (NU); 6-7(4), 6-0, 1-0 (8)
    2. No. 44 Georgia Rose (NU) def. Momei Qu (ILL); 6-2, 6-2
    3. No. 24 Aleis Prousis (NU) def. Bianna Knue (ILL); 6-2, 6-3
    4. Jamie Peisel (NU) def. Emily Wang (ILL); 6-1, 6-3
    5. Feriel Esseghir (NU) def. Shivani Dave (ILL); 2-6, 6-3, 1-0 (4)
    6. Nazalie Ghazal (NU) def. Alejandra Meza Cuadra (ILL); 6-4, 6-2
    Order of finish: 2, 4, 3, 5, 6, 1
    Doubles:
    1. No. 10 Grier/Prousis (NU) def. No. 41 Harkins/Wang (ILL); 8-7(8)
    2. Rose/Esseghir (NU) def. Knue/Dave (ILL); 8-4
    3. Peisel/Ghazal (NU) def. Qu/Cuadra (ILL); 8-1
    Order of finish: 3, 2, 1