April 23, 2014
EVANSTON, Ill. - The Northwestern women's tennis team will try to win its 16th straight Big Ten Championship, combining regular season and tournament titles, when the Wildcats host the 2014 Big Ten Tournament this weekend in Evanston. Action begins Thursday morning at 10 a.m. and concludes Sunday with the championship match at noon.
The event is scheduled to be played outside at the Vandy Christie Tennis Center. Inclement weather could force matches inside to the Combe Tennis Center throughout the weekend. The location will be determined on a match-by-match basis.
NU has enjoyed tremendous success in the Big Ten's postseason, winning 14 of the past 15 titles. Last season, the Wildcats cruised through the bracket and defeated Michigan 4-1 in the final.
The `Cats finished the regular season with a 10-1 conference record and earned the second seed in the tournament. The top-four seeds received first round byes. Northwestern will play the winner of Indiana and Penn State on Friday at 2 p.m.
NU defeated both the Hoosiers and Nittany Lions by identical 7-0 scores this season.
Although Northwestern is the second seed this weekend, the 'Cats are the Big Ten's highest nationally-ranked team at No. 16. NU dropped three spots in this week's ITA poll despite posting a pair of 7-0 shutouts on the road last weekend. The tournament's top-ranked team, Michigan, is ranked 17th.
Belinda Niu won a team-high 15 matches in 2014, including a 9-1 mark in the Big Ten. Niu enters the tournament having won six of her last seven matches. Sophomore Alicia Barnett amassed a perfect 10-0 record in conference play and has won seven matches in a row.
Veronica Corning is the highest ranked Wildcat, coming in at No. 37 in the latest ITA poll. Corning has put together a 13-9 (8-3 in conference) campaign at the first singles position. Niu is also ranked for NU at No. 41.
Since arriving in Evanston before the 1999 season, head coach Claire Pollard has amassed a remarkable 44-1 Big Ten tournament record.
The conference tournament was last held in Evanston during the 2004 season. NU won that event by shutting out Ohio State in the championship, 4-0.
Live scoring will be available for all matches. Scoring and updated information can be found on the tournament page. Daily recaps will be posted to NUsports.com.
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