May 22, 2009
COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Northwestern posted a perfect 2-0 record at the NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships Friday afternoon at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center in College Station, Texas, extending their stay in the Lone Star state for at least one more day. Top-seeded Maria Mosolova defeated Duke's Reka Zsilinszka in three sets while Georgia Rose and Lauren Lui secured All-American status with their 6-3, 6-1 doubles win over Kentucky’s Carolina Escomilla and Caroline Lilley.
This is the second time in Rose's career at Northwestern that she has become an All-American in doubles, following her 2007 doubles campaign with Alexis Prousis. Lui, Rose's doubles partner of two years, earned the honor for the first time. All doubles teams that reach the quarterfinals as well as all seeded pairings entering the tournament receive All-American status.
Mosolova has gone the full three sets in each of her first three matches on her way to a second straight NCAA quarterfinals appearance.
"All of my matches have gone to three sets so far so I am very tired," Mosolova said after her win. "I was just thinking that I have to stay aggressive no matter what it takes, even though I knew I was getting tired. I had to make her play and out-compete her. Coach (Claire) Pollard kept telling me to be tough and I’d get through it."
It was apparent from the get-go that Mosolova (36-7) would be in for a long afternoon as Zsilinszka seemed content to play long points of lob tennis and wait for mistakes from her opponent. Mosolova countered by looking for every opportunity to come to the net to put away Zsilinszka’s lobs with swinging volley winners.
Mosolova executed her plan perfectly through much of the first set and held a 4-2 break advantage. But the Blue Devil sophomore recovered to even the score at four and broke Mosolova’s serve thanks to a pair of misses on attempts for winners by Mosolova. Zsilinszka connected on an ace on game point in her next service game to steal the first set, 6-4.
After exchanging breaks to start the second set, Mosolova worked for a big hold of serve in going up 2-1. Zsilinszka managed to even things at two before Mosolova reeled off four games in a row to claim the second set 6-4.
Mosolova surrendered a double fault on break point to start the third set and soon fell behind 3-0 to Zsilinszka. But a quality break and hold brought her to within 3-2 before the Blue Devil regained a two-game lead. Mosolova officially began her comeback at that point, giving away very few points on her way to a 5-4 advantage.
The tournament's top seed trailed 30-0 in Zsilinszka’s service game but rallied to take a 40-30 lead before Zsilinszka sent it to deuce. Mosolova could not convert on her first match point but came back after Zsilinszka’s ad point for a second chance to finish the match. After yet another long rally, Zsilinszka misfired into the net to send Mosolova into the quarterfinals after a hard-fought win.
Mosolova is now set to face the tournament's No. 8 seed, freshman Chelsey Gullickson of Georgia. The two met once in the regular season, with Gullickson taking a 6-4, 6-3 decision in the championship match of the ITA National Indoor Team tournament in Madison, Wis.
Rose and Lui's match against Escomilla and Lilley marked the second time in two weeks the two teams met following NU's 8-4 win against the Kentucky pair in the NCAA Team Championship second-round match on May 9. Rose and Lui were both aggressive to start their rematch but fell behind 2-1 after three games before breaking the Kentucky duo in the fourth game. After a successful service game by Rose made it 4-3 NU, Lui helped break Kentucky’s next serve with a perfect drop volley that was returned long by the opposing Wildcat pair.
Northwestern trailed 0-40 in its next service game but came alive by winning five consecutive points to win the game and clinch the first set, 6-3.
Lui and Rose began firing on all cylinders in the second set, rolling to a 4-0 lead before Kentucky pulled back a game. That was all Kentucky would muster as NU managed to break UK in the final game and wrap up the second set, 6-1.
Northwestern's All-American duo will face either Marta Lesniak and Aleksandra Malyarschikova of SMU or Stanford's Hilary Barte and Lindsay Burdette in the quarterfinals.
Due to the threat of inclement weather on Saturday, the start of singles and doubles play has been pushed up to 10 a.m. from its originally scheduled time of noon.
NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships
#1 Maria Mosolova (NU) def. #30 Reka Zsilinszka (DUKE), 4-6, 6-2, 6-4
#24 Lui/Rose (NU) def. #31 Escomilla/Lilley (UK), 6-3, 6-1