Jan. 19, 2012
No. 12 Northwestern (0-0) vs. No. 15 Vanderbilt (4-0)
Saturday, January 21, 2012
Combe Tennis Center
Evanston, Ill. 11 a.m.
Live Twitter updates: @NU_SportsLIVE
EVANSTON, Ill. -- After a successful opening weekend at the Wildcat Invitational that saw No. 12 Northwestern collect 20 total victories over three days, the 'Cats will open the 2012 dual slate on Saturday, January 21 when No. 15 Vanderbilt invades Combe Tennis Center for a nonconference clash.
The Wildcats, under the direction of head coach Claire Pollard, are seeking to earn their 14th straight Big Ten Tournament championship. In 2011, Northwestern defeated top-seeded Michigan in thrilling fashion, 4-3, to earn their 13th straight crown. The success continued into NCAA tournament play as NU mowed through IPFW and breezed past No. 20 Notre Dame by identical 4-0 scores. At the NCAA Championships in May, the Wildcats were eliminated by No. 1 Stanford, 4-2.
Northwestern returns eight prominent contributors from last year's squad. Top doubles team, Linda Abu Mushrefova (Bradenton, Fla./Pendleton) and Nida Hamilton (Oak Brook, Ill./Hinsdale Central) return in 2012 and they carry with them the No. 6 ranking in the country according to the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA). The same organization has tabbed Kate Turvy (Dublin, Ohio/Dublin Coffman) at No. 26 in the singles poll and Brittany Wowchuk (Toronto, Ontario, Canada/Oakville Trafalgar) at No. 86.
In addition to several returning standouts, Pollard will welcome a pair of talented newcomers to the squad this spring. Veronica Corning
(Beverly, Mass./Pingree School) is a transfer from Boston College, who looks to make an immediate impression in the Wildcats lineup. As a freshman at Boston College last year, Corning helped the Golden Eagles achieve their highest ITA ranking to date (No. 33) and their best-ever finish in the ACC. Northwestern also welcomes the addition of Anna Livadaru
(Berlin, Germany/Boca Prep International School), a freshman with international tennis experience.
Vanderbilt comes to Evanston with four dual wins already under its belt this season. Over the course of the last week, the Commodores hosted Lipscomb, Miami (OH), Austin Peay and Belmont and won all four duals by a combined score of 25-2. Head coach Geoff Macdonald will put forth a deep lineup, which includes three players ranked in the ITA's top-125. Jackie Wu checks in at No. 23, Lauren Mira is ranked No. 69 and Marie Casares falls at No. 110. In addition, three of Vandy's doubles pairings are ranked earl this season; Wu and Mira at No. 14, Ashleigh Antal and Chelsea Preeg at No. 30 and Antal and Casares are No. 49.
2012 marks the second straight season that Northwestern opens the campaign with Vanderbilt. Last year in Nashville, Tenn., the Commodores escaped with a narrow 4-3 victory. Wowchuk and Turvy won singles matches that day over Wu and Preeg, respectively, while Abu Mushrefova and Hamilton won their doubles match against Wu and Preeg at the No. 1 spot, 8-4.
The first serve Saturday is set for 11 a.m. The Combe Tennis Center is located at 2311 Campus Drive, inside the Sports Pavilion on the shores of Lake Michigan in Evanston. Parking and admission are both free.
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