April 16, 2009
EVANSTON, Ill. -- At 20-1 overall, No. 1 Northwestern is aiming to put the finishing touches on another outstanding regular season when it hosts No. 39 Ohio State at noon Saturday followed by a home tilt against Penn State at noon Sunday. The match against the Nittany Lions marks the final home regular season contest in the careers of Wildcat seniors Nazlie Ghazal, Keri Robison and Georgia Rose.
Depending on this weekend’s weather conditions, matches will either be played indoors at Combe Tennis Center or outdoors at the Vandy Christie Tennis Center. Live scoring for both matches is available by clicking here.
NU, which has gone undefeated in conference play each of the past four seasons, has posted an 8-0 conference record to keep a firm grasp on the top spot in the Big Ten. The Wildcats have taken home the league's regular season title five straight seasons and has won an unprecedented 10 consecutive tournament championships.
Northwestern’s class of departing seniors has played a critical role in NU’s recent rise to the top of the college tennis rankings. Rose, a two-time All-American and three-time first-team All-Big Ten honoree, enters this weekend’s play with a career record of 120-36 in singles action playing primarily in the No. 2 spot. She holds the school record for most consecutive singles matches won with her streak of 29 in 2006, a season in which she set career highs with 38 wins and 25 dual victories.
Ghazal, who is currently riding an 11-match winning streak that has moved her to 130-29 for her career, has won at least 30 matches each of her four years at NU and this season is tied for second on the team with 29 victories. The California native has been dominant during her time in the Midwest by winning 35 of her 36 career Big Ten singles matches and has been ranked as high as No. 69 by the ITA.
Robison has posted a 45-18 singles record in three seasons with the Wildcats and enters this weekend having won 20 of the last 23 sets she has played. She has been particularly key in doubles play for Northwestern this season at the No. 2 spot, where she has teamed with Maria Mosolova to go 17-2 in dual play this year. Robison leads the 2008-09 team in overall doubles victories with 33.
SCOUTING THE BUCKEYES
No. 39 Ohio State is 13-8 this season with a 6-2 record in the Big Ten and is led by junior Kirsten Flower, who has gone 13-8 in duals at the No. 1 spot. Junior Christina Keesey, meanwhile, is 12-2 in duals while spreading her wins across the third, fourth, fifth and sixth singles positions.
NU is 28-6 all-time against the Buckeyes and swept OSU in their last matchup on April 5, 2008.
SCOUTING THE NITTANY LIONS
Penn State has struggled this season en route to a 5-16 overall mark and a 2-6 record in the Big Ten. The Nittany Lions begin play this weekend at Wisconsin before heading south to Evanston. Senior Leyla Morzan paces Penn State with 16 singles wins while three players are tied for second with 12 each.
Northwestern has never lost to Penn State, going a perfect 24-0 in the all-time series.