April 3, 2012
No. 14 Northwestern (10-7, 4-1 Big Ten) at No. 18 Notre Dame (14-5, 3-0 BIG EAST)
Wednesday, April 4
Courtney Tennis Center
South Bend, Ind. 3 p.m. CT
Live Results: UND.com
EVANSTON, Ill. -- No. 14 Northwestern wraps up the nonconference portion of its schedule Wednesday afternoon with a midweek showdown at the Courtney Tennis Center in South Bend, Ind. against 18th-ranked Notre Dame. The first serve is scheduled for 3 p.m. CT.
Battling the Best:
Of Northwestern's 11 nonconference matches to date, 10 have come against teams that were ranked in the top 50 by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) at the time of the match. Eight of those clashes, so far, have come either on the road or at a neutral site. The Wildcats are 6-5 in nonconference matches this season.
Turning the Corner:
Sophomore Veronica Corning has been red-hot for the 'Cats, posting wins in each of her last six singles matches. Corning is 5-0 in Big Ten play and joins classmate Nida Hamilton (2-0) as the only undefeated Wildcats in conference singles play this season.
Pollard Reaches Milestone:
Northwestern head coach Claire Pollard achieved another career milestone with last Friday's 5-2 win at Minnesota. The victory over the Gophers was the 125th Big Ten triumph of Pollard's career. The 'Cats are 126-9 under her direction in conference matches, and at one point, rattled off 73 straight Big Ten wins between 2004-2010.
Sophomore Nida Hamilton delivered the match-clinching point in each of NU's contests over the weekend. Playing at No. 6 singles Friday against Minnesota, Hamilton bested Tereza Brichacova, 7-5, 6-4. At the No. 5 spot against Wisconsin's Angela Chupa Sunday, the Oak Brook, Ill., native won again in straight sets. Earlier this season, Hamilton beat Nebraska's Maike Zeppernick in three sets to propel Northwestern to a 4-3 victory and earn a spot at the ITA National Team Indoor Championship.
Junior Kate Turvy
has emerged as a force to be reckoned with this season at the No. 1 singles position. Since commandeering that post for the first time in her career, Turvy has earned a team-best 11 wins in dual matches, including five over nationally-ranked opponents. The highest-ranked foe Turvy has slayed was Baylor's Diana Nakic, who was ranked No. 9 by the ITA at the time of their battle on March 4.
Northwestern continues to place itself amongst the nation's elite programs this season. The Wildcats check in at 14th in the latest installment of the ITA poll that was released Tuesday. The 'Cats achieved their highest distinction of the season back on Feb. 28 when they were ranked No. 8.
Individually, Kate Turvy is at the top of the charts for Northwestern with a current ranking of 21st, according to the numbers released March 27. Brittany Wowchuk was slated at 62nd in the latest edition. Belinda Niu has also appeared in the poll throughout the season, but is currently unranked.
Back to the Big Ten:
Following Wednesday's match, the Wildcats will only face Big Ten-based foes for the remainder of the regular season. Northwestern will conclude its ongoing five-match road trip with stops at Michigan State (Sat.) and Michigan (Sun.) over the weekend. The team will then face Penn State, Ohio State and Purdue at home before finishing up the regular season on April 22 at Indiana.
Scouting Notre Dame:
The Fighting Irish are just the latest in a long line of nationally-ranked teams that the Wildcats will face in 2012. Notre Dame is ranked 18th in the poll that was released Tuesday, up two spots from their previous mark. The Irish are 14-5 overall this season with all five losses coming against teams ranked 35th or better.
Shannon Mathews was slated 54th in the last ITA singles poll, which was released on March 27. Teammate Kristy Frilling is just inside the top 100 at No. 95. Notre Dame also has two doubles teams that are receiving national recognition. Mathews and Frilling, with a record of 12-5 this spring, are No. 5, while Britney Sanders and Julie Sabacinski are No. 67.
Sanders leads the team with 15 singles wins, most of which have come in the No. 4 position. Mathews has won 14 matches, including 10 on the top line.
Northwestern leads the all-time series against Notre Dame, 26-11 and the Wildcats defeated ND twice in 2011. The first victory came after NU faced a 3-0 deficit on April 7, but rallied to win the last four singles matches to secure the match. The second match came on May 14, when the 'Cats swept ND, 4-0, to earn a spot in the NCAA Championship Round of 16. Notre Dame's last win in the series, a 5-2 success, came on Feb. 21, 2010.
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