April 22, 2012
A Championship Quest: The Legacy of Northwestern Women's Tennis
Site: Bloomington, Ind. (IU Tennis Center)
Score: Northwestern 7, Indiana 0
Records: NU (17-7, 10-1 Big Ten), Indiana (15-9, 4-6 Big Ten)
Next NU Event: Friday, April 27 - Big Ten Tournament vs. TBA (Columbus, Ohio), 9 a.m.
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- For the 14th time in school history -- and the 12th time in 14 years under head coach Claire Pollard -- Northwestern earned the right to raise a Big Ten Championship trophy above their heads. The 12th-ranked Wildcats finished the regular season Sunday on the road in Bloomington, taking down No. 47 Indiana with a dominating 7-0 performance to claim the conference title.
NU claimed the doubles point for the sixth-consecutive time, but it wasn't easy for the Wildcats. Nida Hamilton and Brittany Wowchuk earned the first win of the day for Northwestern with their solid 8-3 win over IU's Kayla Fujimoto and Katie Klyczek at No. 2. Following shortly after, the nation's 90th-ranked doubles team of Linda Abu Mushrefova and Veronica Corning stole a tightly contested match against Sophie Garre and Leslie Hureau, 8-6, to give NU the first team point.
Though the point had already been decided, Indiana showed it wasn't willing to go down without a fight. Shannon Murdy and Evgeniya Vertesheva defeated Northwestern's sturdy duo of Belinda Niu and Kate Turvy, 8-5, before the start of singles play.
The `Cats made quick work of the Hoosiers in singles, and it began with a couple of matches at Nos. 3 and 4. On court No. 4, Veronica Corning
handled Chupa with relative ease. Down the stretch, the sophomore took eight of the final nine games against Chupa in her 6-3, 6-1 victory.
At the same time on the No. 3 line, Brittany Wowchuk had similar success against Indiana's Katie Klyczek. In her two-set success, Wowchuk used two 4-1 runs to topple Klyczek, 6-2, 6-3, placing NU just one win away from triumph.
Kate Turvy, Northwestern's dependable No. 1, earned her stripes with a gritty dual with Leslie Hureau. The two battled back-and-forth in the first set, which didn't even finish until well after both Corning's and Wowchuk's matches had gone final. Turvy found herself down 5-3 to Hureau in the early going, but the junior `Cat fought her way back to tie things at five apiece and eventually forced a tiebreaker. Turvy took an early 5-2 lead in the race to seven, and fought off another Hureau run to claim the set, 7-6 (5). Turvy buckled down in the next frame and raced to a 6-1 second-set win giving Northwestern its match-clinching fourth point and Big Ten championship.
On court No. 2, Belinda Niu earned her 13th win of the spring with a tough match against Evgeniya Vertesheva. Niu pounced out of the gates early, winning the first four games to open the match en route to claiming the first set, 6-2. Vertesheva made things interesting in the second, however, even after Niu won the first three games. Vertesheva won four of five straight games, and eventually evened things up at 5-5. Not to be outdone, Niu succeeded in winning the final two games of the set to win the match, 6-2, 7-5.
Battling at Nos. 5 and 6, both Linda Abu Mushrefova and Nida Hamilton shored up the Wildcats' dominating day with three-set wins over their Hoosier foes. Hamilton and IU's Shannon Murdy went toe-to-toe in a tightly contested dual; Hamilton took the first set 6-4 after winning the final three games against Murdy. In the second, a strong start by the Indiana freshman turned the tables, and Murdy won, 7-5. Hamilton asserted herself in the final set, however, and outperformed Murdy en route to a 6-1 win.
Abu Mushrefova wrapped things up nicely for Northwestern at No. 5. Even though she fell in the opening two games to Alecia Kauss, the junior Wildcat won six in a row to claim the first set, 6-2. Kauss took the second, however, 6-4, extending the match one more set. But Abu Mushrefova eventually focused in and took the final frame, 6-4, capping a perfect day for Northwestern.
Up next, the Wildcats travel to Columbus, Ohio, for the Big Ten Tournament beginning Thursday. The Wildcats, who are looking to win their 14th consecutive Big Ten Tournament title, will have a bye in the first round and will face the winner of the match between No. 8 Penn State and No. 9 Ohio State on Friday at 9 a.m.
1: Linda Abu Mushrefova/Veronica Corning (NU) def. Sophie Garre/Leslie Hureau (IND) 8-6
2: Nida Hamilton/Brittany Wowchuk (NU) def. Kayla Fujimoto/Katie Klyczek (IND) 8-3
3: Shannon Murdy/Evgeniya Vertesheva (IND) def. Belinda Niu/Kate Turvy (NU) 8-5
Order of finish: 2, 1*, 3
1: Kate Turvy (NU) def. Leslie Hureau (IND) - 7-6 (5), 6-1
2: Belinda Niu (NU) def. Vertesheva (IND) - 6-2, 7-5
3: Brittany Wowchuk (NU) def. Klyczek - 6-2, 6-3
4: Veronica Corning (NU) def. Chupa (IND) - 6-3, 6-1
5: Linda Abu Mushrefova (NU) def. Kauss (IND) - 6-2, 4-6, 6-4
6: Nida Hamilton (NU) def. Murdy (IND) - 6-4, 5-7, 6-1
Order of finish: 4, 3, 1*, 2, 6, 5
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