March 28, 2014
#11 Northwestern (9-5) vs. #54 Ohio State (11-5)
Saturday, March 29, 2014 • 11 a.m.
Combe Tennis Center
#11 Northwestern (9-5) vs. Penn State (4-11)
Sunday, March 30, 2014 • 11 a.m.
Combe Tennis Center*
EVANSTON, Ill. – After a three-week hiatus from conference play, the 11th-ranked Northwestern women’s tennis team will welcome Big Ten opponents Ohio State and Penn State to Evanston over the weekend.
The Wildcats are coming off a mid-week trip to North Carolina that saw them drop two matches to top-10 teams, including a 5-2 loss to the No. 1-ranked Duke Blue Devils. The other match was a 6-1 defeat by 10th-ranked North Carolina.
NU has posted a 3-0 record in Big Ten play, including shutout wins over Indiana and Illinois. Five Northwestern singles players are undefeated in conference play. Veronica Corning, Belinda Niu and Alicia Barnett are all 3-0, while Manon Peri and Nida Hamilton are 2-0. Hamilton is undefeated overall in 2014 with a 7-0 record.
Niu is the 36th-ranked singles player in the country, boasting a 9-2 mark headed into this weekend’s play. Corning, playing all year in the No. 1 spot, has put together a record of 8-6 and is ranked 44th. The ‘Cats also have two doubles teams that are ranked by the ITA. Corning and Barnett make up the 21st-ranked tandem, while Hamilton and Maddie Lipp are ranked 72nd.
Corning was named the Big Ten Player of the Week on Tuesday for the third time this season. Her award came on the heels of a performance against No. 26 Georgia Tech in which she defeated Natasha Prokhnevska at No. 1, 6-2, 7-5. She teamed up with Barnett in doubles play to take down the second-ranked duo in the country of Kendal Woodard and Megan Kurey by an 8-3 score.
Ohio State brings an 11-5 record into Evanston. The Buckeyes sit 54th in the ITA poll and have won 10 of their last 12 matches. OSU most recently played Michigan State on March 23 and won handily, 5-2.
The Buckeyes have no ranked singles players but do have two ranked doubles teams. Grainne O’Neill and Noelle Malley are 69th, while Ferny Angeles Paz and Miho Kowase come in at No. 79. O’Neill and Malley beat No. 18 Brooke Bolender and Emina Bektas of Michigan last weekend.
Northwestern leads the all-time series against Ohio State 35-5. Last season, the Wildcats downed OSU, 6-1. NU has defeated the Buckeyes 10 straight times dating back to the 2003 season.
The Nittany Lions enter this weekend with a record of 4-11, having lost 11 of their past 12 matches. Penn State is currently 0-3 in the Big Ten with shutout losses to Ohio State, Michigan State and Michigan.
Penn State has no ranked players, but Dasha Sapogova has put together a 10-5 season while playing in spots one, two and three.
Northwestern has never lost to Penn State, holding a 25-0 advantage in the series. NU beat the Nittany Lions 5-2 in University Park, Pa. last season.
Saturday’s match against Ohio State will be played inside the Combe Tennis Center.
*Sunday's match vs. Penn State has been moved inside to the Combe Tennis Center. The match will begin at 11 a.m.
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