April 4, 2014
#11 Northwestern (11-5) vs. #17 Michigan (13-3)
Saturday, March 5, 2014 11 a.m.
Varsity Tennis Center
Ann Arbor, Mich.
#11 Northwestern (11-5) vs. Michigan State (15-4)
Sunday, March 6, 2014 10 a.m.
MSU Indoor Tennis Facility
East Lansing, Mich.
EVANSTON, Ill. - The two dominant programs in Big Ten women's tennis will meet this weekend as Northwestern travels to Ann Arbor to take on the Michigan Wolverines on Saturday. The No. 11-ranked Wildcats (11-5, 5-0) face 17th-ranked Michigan (13-3, 5-0) in a battle of the only remaining unbeaten squads in conference play. The match is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m.
NU will also play Michigan State (15-4, 3-2) on Sunday in East Lansing. The `Cats face off against the Spartans at 10 a.m.
Northwestern won every regular-season and conference tournament championship from 1999-2010. In 2011, Michigan won the regular-season crown, while the Wildcats claimed the conference tournament. 2012 saw NU and the Wolverines split the regular-season crown. Last season, Michigan again took the regular-season, and Northwestern won the conference tournament.
The Wildcats remained on pace for a 16th-straight conference championship with a couple of dominant wins at home last weekend over Ohio State and Penn State. NU handled the Buckeyes, 6-1, before sweeping past the Nittany Lions by a 7-0 score.
Seniors have played a major role for the `Cats this season. Belinda Niu has racked up an 11-2 record, starting the dual season 9-0. Niu is ranked No. 36 by the ITA. Playing in the No. 1 spot in singles, Veronica Corning is 4-1 in Big Ten play and ranked 44th nationally. Nida Hamilton has been reliable, jumping out to a 9-0 start in 2014.
Michigan has won five straight conference matches on its way to a 13-3 mark so far in the dual season. All three losses came at the hands of highly-ranked opponents, including Duke, Clemson and Virginia. The Wolverines have won 10 of their past 11 matches entering Saturday.
Emina Bektas leads Michigan with a 15-1 record at the No. 1 singles spot. Bektas is ranked ninth by the ITA and has been named Big Ten Player of the Week three times this season. The Wolverines boast another top-25 player in the No. 2 spot as Ronit Yurovsky has amassed an 8-1 mark. The third one-loss player for Michigan is Brooke Bolender, who with an 11-1 record is ranked 119th.
Northwestern is 48-11 all-time against Michigan. The series has been much closer lately with NU holding a 4-3 advantage, including tournament play, dating back to 2010.
The Michigan State Spartans have recorded a 3-2 mark in conference play with losses to Michigan and Ohio State. Last weekend, the Spartans knocked of Nebraska and Iowa in a pair of road matches.
MSU has no ranked players, but Marina Bohrer is 14-4 in the first singles spot, while Erin Faulkner is 12-4 at No. 2. Bohrer and Faulkner have teamed up in doubles play for an 11-4 record.
NU has compiled a 37-1 mark against Michigan State all-time. Since the 2000 season, the Wildcats have outscored the Spartans 94-4.
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