Jan. 18, 2008
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Seventh-ranked Northwestern beat No. 15 William & Mary last season 4-3. The score reflected just how close these teams have been recently, with the victory giving NU a 3-2 all-time edge in the series.
Sunday, the Tribe travel to the Combe Tennis Center for an early-season top-15 clash between the two schools. Northwestern and William & Mary have a combined seven players ranked in the top 100 in singles and five in the top-50 doubles pairs.
Freshman Maria Mosolova (Moscow, Russia) is the highest ranked of the group, opening the season at No. 2. She is followed by junior Georgia Rose (Mettawa, Ill./North Shore Country Day) at No. 9 and Big Ten Athlete of the Week, sophomore Samantha Murray (Altrincham, England/Altrincham Grammar) at No. 20. Murry pairs with sophomore Lauren Lui (Houston, Texas/Kinkaid) to make up NU's seventh-ranked doubles team, as well.
William and Mary's highest ranked player is senior Megan Moulton-Levy at No. 12. She is followed by Ragini Acharya at No. 55. The team of Katarina Zoricic/Acharya are the Tribe's highest ranked doubles pair at No. 27.
The match serves as NU's first dual of the season, while the Tribe plays at Michigan State on Saturday before taking on the Wildcats.
Last weekend the Wildcats took on competition from Utah, DePaul and Western Michigan in the Wildcat Spring Invitational -- NU's first spring event -- and finished the weekend a combined 35-2 in singles and doubles play.
In the fall, the Wildcats got the better of the Tribe at the Wildcat Fall Invitational, taking the Flight A singles and doubles championships.
Both teams advanced to the round of 16 at the NCAA Championships in 2007. The trip marked the 'Cats' seventh trip in the past eight seasons.
Sunday's match wraps up NU's home schedule for almost a month. Following the match, NU hits the road for matches at New Mexico, Georgia Tech and the National Indoor Championships before returning home on Feb. 16.
Sophomore Samantha Murray earned the first Big Ten women's tennis Athlete of the Week Award for the 2007-08 season on Wednesday. The award was the third in her career. She was also the last NU player to receive the honor (April, 2007).
As a team, NU is ranked No. 7 in the country, which is good for the honor of top-ranked in the conference.
Freshman Maria Mosolova is the No.-2 ranked singles player in the nation, according to the initial release of the ITA Tennis rankings. She is followed by Georgia Rose at No. 9 and Murray at No. 20. Sophomore Lauren Lui and junior Nazlie Ghazal are also in the top 100.
Murray and Lui are ranked seventh in the nation in doubles. Ghazal and sophomore Suzie Matzenauer are ranked 38th, while senior Alexis Conill and junior Keri Robison also sneak into the top 50 at No. 50.
In fall competition, NU finished the season 70-30 in singles and 40-9 in doubles. The 'Cats have since raised their winning percentages in both categories, finishing 17-0 in singles and 18-2 in doubles at the Wildcat Invitational last weekend.
Four Wildcat singles boast winning percentages of over .750: Ghazal (.769), Rose (.800), Murray (.810) and Mosolova (.882).
Last season at No. 13 William & Mary, No. 11 NU took a thrilling 4-3 victory. The Tribe won the singles points at No. 1, 2 and 3, while the Wildcats won at Nos. 4-6. The doubles point was the deciding factor in the match, which resulted in an 8-6, 5-8, 8-7 (7-1) victory for the 'Cats.
Northwestern is 3-2 all-time against William & Mary with last year's victory pushing NU over .500.
NU enters the match on a nine-game regular season winning streak. It's last loss came on March 24, 2007 against California in Honolulu, Hawaii.