April 15, 2005
EVANSTON, Ill. -
No. 3 Northwestern (18-2 overall, 7-0 Big Ten) took a brief break from Big Ten competition Thursday to beat No. 26 Notre Dame, 5-2, but the Wildcats return to conference action this Saturday and Sunday, April 16 and 17, as No. 50 Purdue and No. 54 Illinois come to Evanston. Both matches start at 11 a.m.
Saturday, the `Cats will face a surging Boilermakers (7-10, 4-2) squad that has won five of its last six matches. That streak comes on the heels of a seven-match losing streak, but Purdue is currently nestled into a three-way tie with Illinois and Iowa for third place in the Big Ten.
This past weekend, the Boilermakers notched a pair of wins over Michigan and Michigan State, marking their first conference weekend sweep since 2003.
Much of Purdue's success can be attributed to its top player Hala Sufi. Sufi has won six in a row and the Boilermakers are 6-3 when she wins at No. 1 singles. Additionally, Brooke Beier and Amy Walgenbach have each won two straight
Sunday's match against the Illini is Senior Day and the `Cats will honor Kristi Roemer (Piedmont, Calif./Piedmont) and Andrea Yung (San Marino, Calif./San Marino) before battling their intra-state rival.
The Illini (107, 4-2) most recently lost a 4-3 heartbreaker to No. 26 Notre Dame in mid-week action. It was the fifth 4-3 decision Illinois has lost this season. No. 41 Cyntha Goulet -- the Illini's only 20-match winner -- has been hot lately, earning a pair of upset wins over the Fighting Irish. She defeated No. 37 Catrina Thompson and also teamed with Emily Wang in doubles to defeat the Thompson twins, who are ranked fourth in the nation.
Goulet and Momei Qu are both a perfect 6-0 in Big Ten singles competition.
Illinois' doubles unit is strong, as Goulet and Wang and Brianna Knue and MacCall Harkins have each won at least 20 matches this year together. The two duos have dropped only five dual matches between them.
Nationally Ranked `Cats as of April 12, 2005
No. 3 Audra Cohen
No. 16 Cristelle Grier
No. 66 Alexis Prousis
No. 1 Cohen and Grier
No. 36 Kristi Roemer and Prousis
No. 1 - Stanford
No. 2 - Kentucky
No. 3 - Northwestern
Perfect Matches... Doubles
Northwestern has swept the doubles point 10 times this season: vs. DePaul (1/19), at Texas A&M (1/29), at Kentucky (1/30) and at Wisconsin (2/13), vs. Michigan (3/26), vs. Michigan State (3/27), at Indiana (4/1), at Penn State (4/3), vs. Iowa (4/9) and vs. Minnesota (4/10).
Perfect Matches... Singles
Northwestern has swept all six singles matches four times this season: vs. DePaul (1/19), against New Mexico (2/4) at the ITA National Indoor Team Championship, vs. Iowa (4/9) and vs. Minnesota (4/10).
Chasing Recent History
Cohen recorded her 39th victory of the season Sunday, April 10 vs. Minnesota, putting her only one shy of tying Grier's single-season school record of 40 set in 2004. Cohen has only dropped 10 sets in 44 total matches.
By the Numbers
16 - consecutive Big Ten matches Northwestern has won, a streak dating back to last year. The Wildcats last conference loss came April 4, 2004 at Illinois, 4-3.
4 - `Cats with at least 20 singles wins already this year. Cohen (39-5), Grier (31-6), Prousis (28-7) and Vladea (27-8).
6 - Big Ten Titles Claire Pollard has won in six years as head coach.
23 - Streak of wins by Audra Cohen in the fall to begin her college career, during which she claimed three singles titles.
14 - Consecutive wins by Audra Cohen and Cristelle Grier (28-8 overall, 16-2 duals) -- the nation's top-ranked doubles duo.