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    No. 9 Northwestern Embarks on Season's Last Road Contests

    NUSPORTSDOTCOM Senior All-American Cristelle Grier has won eight-consecutive singles matches.
    Senior All-American Cristelle Grier has won eight-consecutive singles matches.

    April 14, 2006

    EVANSTON, Ill. -- Members of the Wildcats' ninth-ranked women's tennis team pack their bags for the last time this season as the 'Cats embark on their final road swing of the season at Illinois and No. 46 Purdue. Northwestern, which has won eight out of its last nine matches, takes on the Illini at noon Saturday, April 15, before facing the Boilermakers at 11 a.m. Sunday, April 16.

    Northwestern enters the weekend after it took two conferences matches last weekend over Minnesota and then-No. 33 Iowa. The 'Cats recorded their eighth shutout of the season when they swept the Golden Gophers for a 7-0 win. Northwestern then improved its conference record to 7-0 when it knocked off the only other team undefeated in conference play at that time, Iowa, 5-2.

    While the rest of the conference is jockeying for position in the Big Ten Championship, the Wildcats enter this weekend with their eyes on the prize, the conference regular-season title. Northwestern can win the regular-season crown with a pair of wins this weekend.

    All-American Cristelle Grier (Epsom, England/Putney) leads the Wildcats into the weekend as she has seen a majority of play at the No. 1 singles spot. Grier, ranked No. 8 by the ITA, is 10-2 at the No. 1 position this season and has earned victories in each of her last eight contests.

    True freshman Georgia Rose (Mettawa, Ill./North Shore Country Day) enters this weekend's matches as the Big Ten Athlete of the Week. No. 44 Rose won the award for the second time in three weeks after she went 6-0 in singles and doubles while knocking off three ranked opponents last week.

    Rose is well on her way to making NU women's tennis history as she needs just five more consecutive wins to match Grier's school record of 28-straight victories. Rose is 19-0 in dual matches this season and 31-6 overall this year.

    Junior Alexis Prousis (Lake Forest, Ill./Lake Forest) is ranked No. 24 by the ITA and has compiled a 29-10 record this year. Prousis has won four of her last six matches.

    In doubles, NU's team of Nazlie Ghazal (Temecula, Calif./Chaparral) and Jamie Peisel (Savannah, Ga./Savannah Country Day) is 18-5 overall this year and has earned wins in seven of its last eight matches at the No. 3 position.

    Illinois is currently 6-11 overall this season and stands at 11th in the conference with a 1-5 league mark.

    The Illini are led by sophomore Marcall Harkins, who is 11-4 at the No. 1 position and enters this weekend riding a seven-match win streak.

    In doubles, Illinois' team of Harkins and junior Emily Wang is ranked No. 41. The Illini team is 6-7 this season at No. 1.

    The Wildcats lead the all-time series with the Illini 35-7.

    Purdue, ranked 46th in the latest ITA poll, is coming off a 5-2 road victory at Michigan State on April 9. The win improved the Boilermakers to 10-7 overall and 4-2 in the Big Ten.

    Purdue is led by its freshman Randi Schuler, who is ranked 66th. Schuler is 25-8 overall this season and has compiled a 10-2 record in dual matches while competing mostly at the No. 2 position.

    In doubles, the Boilermaker team of Hala Sufi and Mallory Voelker is 9-3 at the No. 1 doubles position this season.

    Northwestern leads the all-time series with the Boilermakers 32-1.