April 25, 2004
EAST LANSING, Mich.--For the fifth time in six years, Northwestern's 10th-ranked women's tennis team is back on top.
With its resounding 6-1 victory over Michigan State today, the 'Cats (20-4, 9-1 Big Ten), along with Indiana (17-6, 9-1), won the Big Ten Conference regular season. By virtue of having the tiebreaker--NU beat Indiana in March--the Wildcats will carry the top seed heading into this week's Big Ten Championship at Northwestern University.
"We never expect to win the season title, but we are definitely grateful," said head coach Claire Pollard. "We are very happy and feel good going into the Big Ten Championship."
A sweep in doubles certainly set the positive mood for NU. Andrea Yung (San Marino, Calif./San Marino) and Connie Chiang (Oshkosh, Wis./Oshkosh) began by routing Jessica Baron and Karen Gustafson 8-0 at No. 3.
Third-ranked Cristelle Grier (Surrey, England/Epsom) and Jessica Rush (Dallas, Texas/The Hockaday School) also had an impressive win, topping Keri Thompson and Caroline Lay 8-3 at No. 1. Meanwhile, Jamie Peisel (Savannah, Ga./Savannah Country Day) and Alexis Prousis (Lake Forest, Ill./Lake Forest) put out Pascale Schnitzer and Sarah Andrews 8-4 at No. 2.
Singles proved to be more of the same, as Prousis led off with a 6-2, 6-0 pounding of Andrews at the three spot. Second-ranked Grier then chipped in a 6-3, 6-3 decision over Thompson at No. 1 to finish 10-0 in the conference for the second-straight season.
After MSU (8-13, 3-7) cut the lead to 3-1, Chiang clinched the match for Northwestern by knocking down Gustafson 6-0, 7-5 at No. 6. The senior finished the regular season with a 9-1 dual record.
Peisel and 47th-ranked Rush closed out the match, winning 6-4, 6-2 at No. 4 and 3-6, 6-2, 6-1 at No. 2, respectively. The triumph for Peisel also gave her a perfect 10-0 conference finish.
"Overall, it was a solid victory for us," said Pollard. "I thought we competed well, and I hope that carries on into this week."
The Wildcats will next take on the winner of the No. 8 seed-No. 9 seed match at 10 a.m. Friday at Vandy Christie Tennis Center.
No. 10 Northwestern 6, Michigan State 1
No. 1 -- #2 Cristelle Grier (NU) def. Keri Thompson (MSU), 6-3, 6-3
No. 2 -- #47 Jessica Rush (NU) def. Caroline Lay (MSU), 3-6, 6-2, 6-1
No. 3 -- Alexis Prousis (NU) def. Sarah Andrews (MSU), 6-2, 6-0
No. 4 -- Jamie Peisel (NU) def. Pascale Schnitzer (MSU), 6-4, 6-2
No. 5 -- Jessica Baron (MSU) def. Andrea Yung (NU), 6-3, 7-6 (9-7)
No. 6 -- Connie Chiang (NU) def. Karen Gustafson (MSU), 6-0, 7-5
No. 1 -- #3 Grier/Rush (NU) def. Thompson/Lay (MSU), 8-3
No. 2 -- Prousis/Peisel (NU) def. Schnitzer/Andrews (MSU), 8-4
No. 3 -- Yung/Chiang (NU) def. Baron/Gustafson (MSU), 8-0