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    Northwestern Outlasts Ohio State, 5-2

    NUSPORTSDOTCOM Linda Abu Muishrefova (pictured) and partner Veronica Corning clinched the doubles point for Northwestern Sunday.
    Linda Abu Muishrefova (pictured) and partner Veronica Corning clinched the doubles point for Northwestern Sunday.

    April 15, 2012


    Site: Evanston, Ill. (Combe Tennis Center)
    Score: No. 11 Northwestern 5, No. 61 Ohio State 2
    Records: NU (15-7, 8-1 Big Ten), OSU (8-14, 3-6 Big Ten)
    Next NU Event: Friday, April 20 -- vs. Purdue (Evanston, Ill.), 3 p.m.

    EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern, ranked No. 11 in the country by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association, ran its winning streak to seven straight matches with another impressive victory Sunday over the visiting and 61st-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes, 5-2, at the Combe Tennis Center in Evanston, Ill.

    The threat of sustained winds on the shores of Lake Michigan forced the match indoors to the Combe Tennis Center. Though Northwestern had not played a match at home on the indoor surface since March 24 against Iowa, it showed no signs of forgetting what it takes to win in front of the boisterous crowd.

    For the second straight day, it was the dominant duo of Kate Turvy and Belinda Niu that banked the first win for NU in doubles play. The Wildcats had little trouble at all with Ohio State's Fidan Manashirova and Kelsey Becker en route to an 8-3 victory. Turvy and Niu won six of the first seven games and did not look back. The Buckeyes picked up a pair of games late, but the established deficit was too much to overcome. The victory was the 13th of the season for the purple-clad pair; no other combination has more than four wins together for Northwestern this spring.

    Moments later the home team secured the doubles point when Linda Abu Mushrefova and Veronica Corning teamed up to put away Kelsey Haviland and Gabby Steele in the No. 1 doubles battle. Like Turvy and Niu, Abu Mushrefova and Corning experienced minimal difficulty in their 8-3 win. After the 'Cats broke OSU's serve to win their seventh game, Abu Mushrefova held serve to seal the win.



    The final doubles match to conclude was the showdown at No. 2 between NU's Brittany Wowchuk and Nida Hamilton and OSU's Kara Cecil and Kelsey Dieters. The Buckeyes trailed late, 7-3, but reeled off three straight winners to climb to within one. Ohio State had the chance to serve to tie the score, and they did just that to force the tiebreaker.

    NU grabbed four of the first six points to take a 4-2 as the players changed sides, but the Buckeyes rallied to tie the breaker at five tallies each. Northwestern, with Hamilton serving, scored the final two points to complete the doubles sweep Sunday. It was the fifth time this season and the fourth time in Big Ten play that the Wildcats were able to sweep all three doubles matches.

    After a late lineup change, Niu was thrust into the top spot in the singles order for the first time in her Northwestern career. The unfamiliar position was not much of a hindrance for Niu early on as she won all six games in the first set to sweep her opponent, Haviland. The Buckeye won the first game of the second set, but Niu proceeded to rattle off four in a row to take a commanding lead. She held serve to go up 5-1 and broke Haviland to finish off the match and give Northwestern a 2-0 lead on the scoreboard.

    Corning, on a quest for the eighth Big Ten win of her career, got off to a tremendous start by winning the first frame over Manashirova, 6-1. At the second spot, Wowchuk was looking to rebound following a tough singles loss against Penn State Saturday, and she did so by jumping on Cecil, 6-4, to win the first set. Stacey Lee, inserted into the lineup at No. 6, charged back out of an early hole to take a one-set lead on Tiffany Dittmer with a 6-2 win on court six.

    Abu Mushrefova, elevated to the No. 4 position, also rallied in her first set to win 6-4 against Dieters. Hamilton, trailing 5-2 at one point, climbed all the way back to knot her score with Steele at five games apiece. The NU sophomore then broke serve to take a one-point lead, 6-5, but she would eventually drop the first set in a tiebreaker, 7-6 (4).

    Meanwhile to Hamilton's left on court number two, Corning had also trailed 5-2 in the second set, leading 1-0, and she too charged back to even the score at five. Unfortunately, she could come no closer as she fell, 7-5, to force a decisive third set against Manashirova.

    At the other end, Lee extended Northwestern's lead to three points when she polished off Dittmer in straight sets. The lone senior in the lineup, playing singles for the first time in two weeks, won the second set, 6-3 to grab her fourth Big Ten win of the season.

    Wowchuk held the distinction of securing the match victory for the Wildcats. The junior won her second set against Cecil, 6-3, to earn the overall team victory for Northwestern on Sunday. The victory was the sixth in the last seven matches for Wowchuk and her sixth of the season in conference clashes.

    With certain victory in hand, Abu Mushrefova increased Northwestern's lead to five points when she beat Dieters, 6-4, 6-3. It was the 12th win of the season for the Floridian, but her first outside of the No. 5 position.

    Hamilton, meanwhile, quickly won the second set, 6-1, to force a superbreaker. Hamilton's seven-match winning streak was snapped as Steele won the decider, 10-8, to win the match and collect OSU's first point of the day. Shortly after, Manashirova ended her match with Corning victoriously with a 6-4 win in the third stanza.

    The 'Cats will welcome the Purdue Boilermakers Friday, April 20 in the final home match of the regular season. Prior to the match NU senior Stacey Lee will be honored for her contributions to the success of the program over the last four years. The first serve is scheduled for 3 p.m. at the Vandy Christie Tennis Center.

    1. Linda Abu Mushrefova/Veronica Corning (NU) def. Kelsey Haviland/Gabby Steele (OSU) - 8-3
    2. Brittany Wowchuk/Nida Hamilton (NU) def. Kara Cecil/Kelsey Dieters (OSU) - 8-7 (5)
    3. Kate Turvy/Belinda Niu (NU) def. Fidan Manashirova/Kelsey Becker (OSU) - 8-3
    Order of finish: 3, 1*, 2

    1. Belinda Niu (NU) def. Kelsey Haviland (OSU) - 6-0, 6-1
    2. No. 62 Brittany Wowchuk (NU) def. Kara Cecil (OSU) - 6-4, 6-3
    3. Fidan Manashirova (OSU) def. Veronica Corning (NU) - 1-6, 7-5, 6-4
    4. Linda Abu Mushrefova (NU) def. Kelsey Dieters (OSU) - 6-4, 6-3
    5. Gabby Steele (OSU) def. Nida Hamilton (NU) - 7-6 (4), 1-6 (10-8)
    6. Stacey Lee (NU) def. Tiffany Dittmer (OSU) - 6-2, 6-3
    Order of finish: 1, 6, 2*, 4, 5, 3


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