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    Top-Seed 'Cats Blank Buckeyes in Big Ten Quarterfinals

    Linda Abu Mushrefova clinched the match for NU over Ohio State with her three-set victory at No. 5 on Friday.

    Linda Abu Mushrefova clinched the match for NU over Ohio State with her three-set victory at No. 5 on Friday.

    April 27, 2012


    Site: Columbus, Ohio (Varsity Tennis Center)
    Score: No. 11 Northwestern 4, No. 63 Ohio State 0
    Records: NU (18-7, 10-1 Big Ten), OSU (10-16, 4-7 Big Ten)
    Next NU Event: Saturday, April 28 - Big Ten Tournament vs. No. 5 Purdue (Columbus, Ohio), 9 a.m. CT

    COLUMBUS, Ohio -- No. 11 Northwestern took care of business on the courts Friday morning in the first step for its quest for a 14th-straight Big Ten Tournament title. The top-seeded Wildcats downed the tournament host Ohio State Buckeyes, 4-0, and will advance to the semifinals to face the No. 5 seed Purdue. Tomorrow's match in Columbus is slated for 9 a.m.

    Things started out well for the Wildcats when NU's most successful doubles team, Belinda Niu and Kate Turvy, scorched to an 8-1 win over Kelsey Haviland and Noelle Malley. The 'Cat twosome won the final five games of the match to put away the Buckeyes and secure their 15th win of the season and an 11-1 record at No. 3.

    Though the Wildcats appeared to be in the driver's seat at the onset of doubles, the Buckeyes made both remaining matches interesting. Northwestern's Nida Hamilton and Brittany Wowchuk, looking to stay a perfect 7-0 on the season together, held a convenient 3-1 lead over Fidan Manashirova and Gabby Steele in the early going at No. 2. Manashirova and Steele kept things close, managing to bring the match to 5-4, but Hamilton and Wowchuk turned on overdrive to claim an 8-4 win.

    Unfinished at No. 1, Linda Abu Mushrefova and Veronica Corning jumped out to a 4-2 lead over Kara Cecil and Kelsey Dieters, but OSU's pair came back quickly to tie the match at five all. The match was abandoned at 6-5, in favor of Northwestern.



    Vying for her 14th win this spring, Nida Hamilton got singles started on the right track for Northwestern with her 6-0, 6-2 win over Tiffany Dittmer at No. 6. Hamilton moves to 13-4 at the No. 6 court this year. Belinda Niu followed behind with a big two-set win of her own, downing Ohio State's Kara Cecil, 6-2, 6-1, putting the Wildcats up 3-0.

    With three 'Cats within three games of clinching the match for Northwestern, it was Linda Abu Mushrefova who came away with the deciding points. The junior dropped her first set, 6-1, to OSU's Gabby Steele, but roared back to sweep the next two, 6-1, 6-4. Abu Mushrefova now has 20 wins for the 2011-12 season, 16 in the spring dual season.

    Three matches were left unfinished on the day, two in which NU held the lead. At No. 1, 19th-ranked Kate Turvy claimed her first set, 6-4, and was up, 3-2, when the point was clinched. At No. 3, Northwestern's 66th-ranked Brittany Wowchuk also won her first set, 6-4, but was tied, 4-4, in the second. Because of court limitations, the No. 4 match between Veronica Corning and Ohio State's Kelsey Dieters started after the No. 6 match had concluded. Dieters was leading Corning, 4-2, when the match was abandoned.

    Up next, Northwestern will face No. 5 Purdue tomorrow at 9 a.m. CT. Purdue ousted No. 4 seed Nebraska this morning with its 4-2 win over the Huskers. Stay tuned to for all of the latest information, and visit the 2012 Big Ten Women's Tennis Tournament Central as well.

    1: No. 19 Kate Turvy (NU) vs. Kelsey Haviland (OSU) - 6-4, 3-2, unf.
    2: Belinda Niu (NU) def. Kara Cecil (OSU) - 6-2, 6-1
    3: No. 66 Brittany Wowchuk (NU) vs. Fidan Manashirova (OSU) - 6-4, 4-4, unf.
    4: Kelsey Dieters (OSU) vs. Veronica Corning - 4-2, unf.
    5: Linda Abu Mushrefova (NU) def. Gabby Steele (OSU) - 1-6, 6-1, 6-4
    6: Nida Hamilton (NU) def. Tiffany Dittmer (OSU) - 6-0, 6-2
    Order of finish: 6, 2, 5*

    1: No. 72 Linda Abu Mushrefova/Veronica Corning (NU) vs. Kara Cecil/Kelsey Dieters - 6-5, unf.
    2: Nida Hamilton/Brittany Wowchuk (NU) def. Fidan Manashirova/Gabby Steele (OSU) - 8-5
    3: Belinda Niu/Kate Turvy (NU) def. Kelsey Haviland/Noelle Malley (OSU) - 8-1
    Order of finish: 3, 2*


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