Feb. 20, 2009
EVANSTON, Ill. --A landmark victory over a field of the nation’s best teams at the ITA National Indoor Team Championship on Monday tightened Northwestern’s grip on the nation’s No. 1 ranking in the most recent college tennis team poll. Now, head coach Claire Pollard’s squad travels to Atlanta to face No. 4 Georgia Tech at noon Sunday in hopes of winning its eighth consecutive dual match to start the year.
MOVERS AND SHAKERS
Last weekend’s countless clashes among ranked opponents resulted in plenty of shifting in this week’s singles and doubles polls. But one place where there was no change was at the top, where NU sophomore Maria Mosolova retained her top overall singles ranking despite a two-set loss to Georgia’s ninth-ranked Chelsey Gullickson in the tournament final. Mosolova (20-3) won matches on the first two days of the event against Julia Cohen of Miami (Fla.) (No. 20) and Duke’s Mallory Cecil (No. 50).
Senior Georgia Rose saw her ranking improve from 28th to 25th after her three-win weekend in Wisconsin. Junior Samantha Murray garnered a No. 43 ranking while two Wildcats—junior Lauren Lui (No. 84) and senior Nazlie Ghazal (No. 99)—made their first appearances of the season in the national polls. Lui won three matches for the ’Cats at No. 4 singles while Ghazal posted three wins—including a critical three-set victory at No. 5 to clinch NU’s quarterfinal win against Duke—to improve to 17-4 this season.
The doubles rankings were equally as kind to Northwestern as the Wildcats landed three duos in the polls. Mosolova and senior Keri Robison lead the way with a No. 18 ranking following their come-from-behind win against Georgia’s Monika Dancevic and Nadja Gilchrist to clinch the doubles point in the final match.
Rose finds herself ranked with two partners, coming in at No. 31 with Lui and No. 41 with freshman Elena Chernyakova. Rose has won 15 doubles matches overall this season.
A TRIPLE FOR THE DOUBLES TEAMS
Northwestern’s impressive performances in doubles play throughout the Indoor Team Championship continually gave the Wildcats both a statistical and mental advantage heading into singles play. NU won 10 of its 11 completed doubles matches, prompting the ITA to name all three doubles pairs to the All-Tournament squad. Below is a look at the complete list of All-Tournament Team honorees:
2009 ITA National Women's Team Indoor Championships All-Tournament TeamSingles
No. 1 – Chelsey Gullickson, Georgia
No. 2 – Ellah Nze, Duke
No. 3 – Mari Andersson, California
No. 4 – Claire Ilcinkas, California
No. 5 – Naoko Ueshima, Georgia
No. 6 – Shannon Matthews, Notre DameDoubles
:No. 1 – Georgia Rose/Lauren Lui, Northwestern
No. 2 – Maria Mosolova/Keri Robison, Northwestern
No. 3 – Samantha Murray/Elena Chernyakova, Northwestern Most Outstanding Player:
Chelsey Gullickson, GeorgiaSCOUTING THE YELLOW JACKETS
In 2008, Georgia Tech (5-1) rebounded from a 6-1 dual match loss against Northwestern to defeat NU a week later in the final of the ITA Team Championship by a 4-2 margin. In this year’s edition of the event, the seventh-seeded Yellow Jackets lost a quarterfinal match to No. 2 California but finished 2-1 in the tournament thanks to a 4-3 upset of third-seeded and defending NCAA champion UCLA. Tech’s performance helped it garner a No. 4 ranking in this week’s ITA poll.
At No. 1 singles, Georgia Tech features junior Amanda McDowell (No. 10), who was the 2008 NCAA singles champion and the 2008 ITA National Player of the Year. Last fall, she also was part of the winning doubles pair at the 2008 All-American Championships in Los Angeles but was eliminated from the singles draw by Mosolova in a 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 victory for the NU sophomore.
Just behind McDowell in the polls is freshman No. 13 Irina Falconi followed by 38th-ranked Christy Striplin and No. 77 Noelle Hickey.
NU is 3-2 all-time vs. Georgia Tech after last year’s dual split and a narrow 4-3 win for the Yellow Jackets during the 2007 campaign.