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    'Cats Set for Texas Two-Step

    NUSPORTSDOTCOM Belinda Niu cracked the Campbell/ITA singles poll for this first time this season on Tuesday.
    NUSPORTSDOTCOM
    Belinda Niu cracked the Campbell/ITA singles poll for this first time this season on Tuesday.
    NUSPORTSDOTCOM

    March 1, 2012

    No. 8 Northwestern (5-4, 0-0 Big Ten) at No. 9 Texas (4-3, 0-0 Big XII)
    Friday, March 2
    Penick-Alison Tennis Center
    Austin, Texas • 6 p.m.
    Live Stats: TexasSports.com

    No. 8 Northwestern (5-4, 0-0 Big Ten) at No. 12 Baylor (11-3, 0-0 Big XII)
    Sunday, March 4
    Hurd Tennis Center
    Waco, Texas • 1 p.m.
    Live Stats: BaylorBears.com
    Live Blog: BaylorBears.com

    EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern continues its challenging nonconference schedule this spring with a brief two-match swing through the Lone Star State this weekend. On Friday the Wildcats will face No. 9 Texas in Austin, and on Sunday they will go up against No. 12 Baylor in Waco.

    The two upcoming matches for head coach Claire Pollard and her team mark the ninth and tenth affairs versus teams ranked in the Campbell/ITA top-25 poll this season alone. The 'Cats have been victorious on three of those occasions including versus then-No. 15 Vanderbilt at home and against No. 8 North Carolina and No. 9 Virginia on the road. Northwestern began the season ranked 12th itself before rising to its current slot at No. 8.

    For the first time this season, the Wildcats boast three players in the Campbell/ITA singles poll. Junior Kate Turvy (Dublin, Ohio/Dublin Coffman) is ranked No. 20, while classmate Brittany Wowchuk (Toronto, Ontario, Canada/Oakville Trafalgar) checks in at No. 51. For the first time in 2012, sophomore Belinda Niu (Portland, Ore./Lincoln) entered the rankings this week at No. 118. Last year, Niu ranked as high as 66th in the listing.

     

     

    Northwestern's top doubles tandem of Linda Abu Mushrefova (Bradenton, Fla./Pendleton) and Nida Hamilton (Oak Brook, Ill./Hinsdale Central) climbed two spots in the poll this week to No. 4. Abu Mushrefova and Hamilton have three wins together as a pair this spring.

    Texas, which moved up six spots in this week's poll from 15th to 9th, has not played since Feb. 12 at the ITA National Indoor Team Championship. The Longhorns, like the Wildcats, went 1-2 at the event in Charlottesville, Va. with their lone win coming on the final day over No. 15 Clemson.

    The Longhorns have been paced in dual matched by Elizabeth Begley, who has notched five wins at No. 6. Texas' Aeriel Ellis has occupied the top line for the early part of the season and has a record of 3-3. Ellis is currently the highest-ranked Longhorn, coming in at No. 30.

    Baylor is currently ranked No. 12 in the ITA poll and boasts three singles players, all seniors, in the top 50. The Bears also appeared at the ITA National Indoor Team Championship, where they posted a pair of wins against UNC and Virginia. They have played one match since then, falling to then-No. 3 UCLA at home, 4-0 on Feb. 19. The Bruins, who currently occupy the top spot in the poll, downed NU in Charlottesville, 4-0, as well.

    Diana Nakic maintains the highest rank distinction amongst the Bears, checking in at No. 9. Nina Secerbegovic is 32nd, while Sona Novakova is ranked 47th. Secerbegovic and freshman Megan Horter as the 46th-ranked doubles team in the country today.

    Friday's first serve against the Longhorns is set for 6 p.m. at the Penick-Alison Tennis Center in Austin. Sunday's match is a matinee affair with the action scheduled to commence at 1 p.m. from the Hurd Tennis Center. Live stats are available for both matches by clicking on the links near the top of this page. Baylor will also produce a live in-match blog for that contest on Sunday.

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