April 20, 2012
Site: Evanston, Ill. (Combe Tennis Center)
Score: No. 12 Northwestern 5, No. 29 Purdue 2
Records: NU (16-7, 9-1 Big Ten), PUR (14-5, 6-4 Big Ten)
Next NU Event: Sunday, April 22-- at Indiana (Bloomington, Ind.), 11 a.m. CT
EVANSTON, Ill. -- No. 12 Northwestern used its depth and perseverance to defeat the visiting No. 29 Purdue Boilermakers, 5-2, at the Combe Tennis Center in Evanston, Ill. Friday. It's the ninth Big Ten win of the season for the Wildcats, keeping their hopes of yet another Big Ten Championship firmly in reach.
At 9-1 in Big Ten play, Northwestern controls its own fate and with a victory over Indiana in the regular season finale on Sunday, the 'Cats can secure the 12th Big Ten Regular Season Championship in 14 years under the direction of head coach Claire Pollard.
Before Indiana, the 'Cats had to take care of business against Purdue Friday. Playing on the number one doubles line, Linda Abu Mushrefova and Veronica Corning opened up their match with a service break and built a three-game lead before Purdue's Jennifer Rabot and Mara Schmidt charged back to even the score at three sets apiece. The two teams traded scoring runs with the Boilermakers grabbing their first lead of the afternoon a time later at 6-5.
Abu Mushrefova and Corning, ranked No. 90 in this week's Campbell's/ITA doubles poll, held serve and then broke the Boilers once again to take back a one-point edge. Corning, a sophomore, then served out to win the eighth game for the Wildcats to give them their first win of the day.
Brittany Wowchuk and Nida Hamilton entered play Friday undefeated in four tries together and they kept that streak alive with an 8-5 win over Purdue's Lynda Xeopoleas and Daniela Vidal. After the Boilermakers won the ninth game of the match to make it 5-4 in favor of Northwestern, Wowchuk and Hamilton ripped off three straight winners to seal the victory and the doubles point for the 'Cats.
Northwestern's No. 3 doubles team of Belinda Niu
and Kate Turvy
has rarely been defeated in 2012, and Friday was no exception. Niu and Turvy fell behind to games to love, but regrouped to win the next three in succession to grab their first lead of the afternoon. After NU extended the lead to four games at 7-3, Gisella Pere and Imogen Golder won a pair of games to cut the deficit to two. The Wildcats were able to hold off the comeback to win and complete the doubles sweep, 8-4. It was the 14th win of the year together for Niu and Turvy in 16 opportunities.
Several of the 'Cats picked up right where they left off when singles play began a short time later. Abu Mushrefova quickly won the first four games of her match at No. 5 against Golder, while Niu, playing at her familiar post at No. 2, took the first three games in her matchup versus Xepoleas.
While Niu ended up losing a tight first frame, Abu Mushrefova continued to cruise. The junior won the first set, 6-2, before putting Golder away in the second, 6-1. For Abu Mushrefova, it was her third straight victory and her 14th singles win of the spring. It was her sixth in Big Ten play, which ties her previous season-high, set a season ago. Abu Mushrefova now holds the longest active winning streak on the team at three straight.
The other five singles matches proved to be evenly-matched battles. Purdue won five of six first sets with Abu Mushrefova's triumph for NU the lone exception. In addition to Niu, who fell, 7-6 (5), Corning and Wowchuk both came up on the short end of 7-5 tallies in their respective sets. Turvy, playing No. 1, dropped her first set, 6-3, while Hamilton was bested by Pere, 6-2.
Hamilton, searching for her eighth solo win in the last nine matches, staged a stellar comeback in her match to capture the second set from Pere, 6-1, and force a decisive frame. Not to be outdone, Corning roared back to win her own second set, 6-3, to move to a third set in her match against Vidal of Purdue.
Moments later Rabot finished off Turvy to gain the first point of the day for the Boilermakers. Turvy, ranked 17th in the ITA singles poll, was never able to find to a smooth rhythm and Rabot took advantage and worked her way to a 6-3, 6-2 win. Xepoleas also finished off Niu, winning the second set of their showdown, 6-3, to knot the team score at two games apiece.
Hamilton put the purple-and-white-clad squad back on top, 3-2, when she completed her comeback victory against Pere. The NU sophomore won the third set, 6-2, to earn the win. It was Hamilton's 12th win this spring, half of which have come in conference clashes.
Like Hamilton, Corning was able to complete her valiant comeback with a 6-1 win in the third set. Corning's team-best eighth Big Ten win helped the Wildcats clinch a milestone win, their 40th all-time against the Boilermakers.
Wowchuk wrapped up the festivities by making it three-for-three in third sets for Northwestern. She won her third set against Schmidt, 6-3, to finish the night in fine fashion for the home team.
Earlier during the break between doubles and singles play, Northwestern senior Stacey Lee was honored by head coach Claire Pollard and her teammates in a brief ceremony. Pollard shared fond memories of Lee from her recruitment to the present day. Lee will graduate later this year with a degree in communications.
The Wildcats will wrap-up the regular season on Sunday afternoon with a match in Bloomington, Ind. against the Indiana Hoosiers. The first serve Sunday is scheduled for 11 a.m. CT at the IU Tennis Center.
1. No. 90 Linda Abu Mushrefova/Veronica Corning (NU) def. Jennifer Rabot/Mara Schmidt (PUR) - 8-6
2. Nida Hamilton/Brittany Wowchuk (NU) vs. Lynda Xepoleas/Daniela Vidal (PUR) - 8-4
3. Belinda Niu/Kate Turvy (NU) vs. Gisella Pere/Imogen Golder (PUR) - 8-5
Order of finish: 1, 2*, 3
1. Jennifer Rabot (PUR) def. No. 17 Kate Turvy (NU) - 6-3, 6-2
2. Lynda Xepoleas (PUR) def. Belinda Niu (NU) - 7-6 (5), 6-3
3. No. 67 Brittany Wowchuk (NU) def. Mara Schmidt (PUR) - 5-7, 6-4, 6-3
4. Veronica Corning (NU) def. Daniela Vidal (PUR) - 5-7, 6-3, 6-1
5. Linda Abu Mushrefova (NU) def. Imogen Golder (PUR) - 6-2, 6-1
6. Nida Hamilton (NU) def. Gisella Pere (PUR) - 2-6, 6-1, 6-2
Order of finish: 5, 1, 2, 6, 4*, 3
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