March 23, 2011
No. 11 Northwestern (7-5, 1-0 Big Ten) at UC Santa Barbara (9-4, 3-1 Big West)
Thursday, March 24
Santa Barbara, Calif. Noon CT
No. 11 Northwestern (7-5, 1-0 Big Ten) vs. Wisconsin (8-5, 1-0 Big Ten)
Sunday, March 27
Evanston, Ill. 11 a.m.
Live Stats: NUsports.com
2011 Northwestern Dual Statistics
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Eleventh-ranked Northwestern returns to the hardcourts this week following a 19-day break from dual action. The Wildcats will cap off their spring break training trip to California with a match at UC Santa Barbara Thursday afternoon before diving back into Big Ten Conference play against Wisconsin at 11 a.m. Sunday.
Admission to NU's tilt with the Badgers at the Combe Tennis Center in Evanston is free for all fans. Live online scoring (linked above) will be provided for those unable to support the 'Cats in person.
When last we saw Northwestern in action, the Wildcats were winning their seventh match of the year -- and their sixth on their home courts -- by sweeping past No. 24 Texas, 7-0. Senior Maria Mosolova edged 16th-ranked Aerial Ellis at the No. 1 spot for her eighth straight victory to start the dual season. Coupled with her 7-3 fall record, the three-time All-American is 15-3 in her senior campaign and 126-31 for her career at NU.
Freshman Belinda Niu has matched Mosolova's eight dual victories, going 8-3 with a perfect 5-0 mark at the No. 3 singles line. Niu and Mosolova also joined forces in doubles, winning all six of their matches at No. 3 and one more at No. 2.
NU in the Rankings
The Wildcats have continued to climb in the Campbell's/ITA College Tennis individual rankings, with Mosolova moving up from No. 52 to start the season to No. 13 in the most recent poll. Sophomore Brittany Wowchuk is holding onto the No. 13 spot while Niu is at a career high of No. 67. NU's fourth and final representative in the singles poll is Kate Turvy at No. 87.
Meanwhile, with several wins over top-10 opponents to their credit, Northwestern's Linda Abu Mushrefova
and Nida Hamilton
have now assumed the No. 6 spot in the national doubles rankings. The 2010 ITA Midwest Regional doubles champs are 9-3 overall and 8-2 in their last 10 matches. Wowchuk and Elena Chernyakova
also worked their way into the poll at No. 79.
Scouting the Gauchos
UC Santa Barbara -- which will face Dartmouth Wednesday before meeting Northwestern -- is 9-4 overall with a 3-1 mark in the Big West. The Gauchos' biggest win of the year came in a 4-3 decision over Long Beach State on March 5, which snapped the 49ers' 31-match Big West Conference winning streak. UCSB is led in singles by top-line player Natalia Lozano while Jill Damion, the Big West Player of the Week on March 10, has a grasp on the No. 2 position.
Scouting the Badgers
Wisconsin enters play this weekend on a three-match losing skid, which includes losses to Nebraska, College of Charleston and North Carolina State. The Badgers have turned the reins of the No. 1 singles spot over to a pair of freshmen, Nicky Stracar and Jenny Hois, who have combined to go 7-5 at the top spot. In doubles, Stracar has coupled with junior Alaina Trgovich at No. 1 and gone 6-4 together.
Northwestern is 43-15 all-time against Wisconsin and has swept each of the last four regular-season meetings, 7-0.
Niu Featured in Portland Tribune
Northwestern freshman Belinda Niu was recently featured in her hometown paper, the Portland Tribune. Read about Niu's arrival on campus last summer as a 16-year-old, her transition to the college game and her goals for the future.
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