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    'Cats Ready For NCAA Opener Against Akron

    NUSPORTSDOTCOM Kate Turvy (left) and Belinda Niu have won 15 of their 18 doubles matches together this spring.
    Kate Turvy (left) and Belinda Niu have won 15 of their 18 doubles matches together this spring.

    May 8, 2012

    NCAA Regional Championship Central | NCAA Championship Bracket | NCAA Championship Program

    NCAA Regional Championship

    Round One
    Notre Dame (20-7, 8-0 BIG EAST) vs. Hawai`i (15-6, 3-1 WAC)
    Friday, May 11
    Vandy Christie Tennis Center
    Evanston, Ill. • 11 a.m.
    Live Results:

    Northwestern (18-8, 10-1 Big Ten) vs. Akron (24-3, 7-1 MAC)
    Friday, May 11
    Vandy Christie Tennis Center
    Evanston, Ill. • 2 p.m.
    Live Results:
    Twitter updates: @NU_SportsLIVE

    Round Two
    Match One Winner vs. Match Two Winner
    Saturday, May 12
    Vandy Christie Tennis Center
    Evanston, Ill. • 12 p.m.
    Live Results:
    Twitter updates: @NU_SportsLIVE

    EVANSTON, Ill. -- No. 11 Northwestern begins the 2012 NCAA Division I Women's Tennis Championship in a familiar place, at home, against the Mid-American Conference champions, Akron, on Friday, May 11 at the Vandy Christie Tennis Center. In addition, the Wildcats will welcome No. 18 Notre Dame and No. 61 Hawai`i for first-round action.

    The winners of the two first round matches will face off Saturday, May 12 at noon at Vandy Christie. The victor of that match will advance to the round of 16 at the NCAA Championship at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga., May 17-22.



    Chicago's Big Ten Champs
    Northwestern secured its 14th consecutive Big Ten title late last month when it earned a share of the conference's regular season championship for the 12th time in 14 years. The 'Cats have also won 13 of the last 14 Big Ten Tournament championships under the direction of head coach Claire Pollard.

    All-Big Ten Accolades
    A trio of Northwestern student-athletes was named 2012 All-Big Ten selections at the conference's Big Ten Tournament banquet in Columbus, Ohio on April 26. Kate Turvy was a unanimous First Team selection, where she is joined by teammate Belinda Niu. Both Turvy and Niu claimed spots on the top team for the second consecutive season. Brittany Wowchuk was also named to the Second Team for a second straight year.

    Home Sweet Home
    2012 marks the 13th consecutive year that the 'Cats have earned one of the top 16 seeds in the NCAA Championship, and with it, the privilege of hosting first- and second-round matches. In 11 of the previous 12 seasons, Northwestern has won both its first- and second-round match to advance to the round of 16. The lone exception came in 2003 when NU was ousted by Kansas State in the first round.

    Turvy In The Tournament
    NU's No. 1 singles player, Kate Turvy, will represent the Wildcats in the field of 64 at the NCAA Singles Championship in Athens, Ga. later this month. The Dublin, Ohio, native posted 16 singles wins in dual matches, including eight against Big Ten opponents. In total, Turvy has faced 21 percent (13 of 63) of the field already this season and has gone 8-6 against those players. The singles championship runs May 22-28.

    Together Again
    Northwestern will also send one tandem to the NCAA Doubles Championship at Georgia. Though they have not played together since April 4, Linda Abu Mushrefova and Nida Hamilton will team up once again. Abu Mushrefova and Hamilton posted 15 wins together this year with four of those coming in dual matches. In the fall, the Wildcats advanced to the semifinals of the ITA National Indoor Championship before bowing out against the eventual champions from USC. The doubles championship also begins May 22.

    Corning Conquers Conference Play
    Sophomore Veronica Corning, playing her first season with the Wildcats, led the squad with nine wins in Big Ten play. The Beverly, Mass., native won 14 matches overall this spring and has won six of her past nine battles. Corning was recognized as a Big Ten Sportsmanship Award recipient in April as well.

    Linda Leads The Way
    Junior Linda Abu Mushrefova paced Northwestern with 17 dual-match victories this spring, with all but one coming from the No. 4 position. Abu Mushrefova has the longest active winning streak on the roster with six consecutive triumphs in singles play and she is 8-2 overall in her last 10 matches.

    Double Duty
    In addition to occupying the top two positions in Northwestern's singles lineup, Kate Turvy and Belinda Niu have formed the roster's most consistent doubles duo. The pair won 15 of its 18 matches together this spring, including seven of 10 in Big Ten play. Their 15 wins are eight more than the next closest pair, Nida Hamilton and Brittany Wowchuk, who own a 7-1 mark together.

    Poll Presence
    Northwestern maintained its season-long presence near the top of the Campbell's/ITA poll when the latest rankings were released on April 24. The Wildcats are 11th in the poll and they have not been listed lower than 15th at any point this season. NU's best mark this season came on Feb. 28 when it was pegged eighth in the team poll.

    Individually, juniors Kate Turvy and Brittany Wowchuk have been mainstays in the singles poll this season. Turvy is currently ranked No. 19, while Wowchuk checks in at No. 66. The 'Cats also have a presence in the doubles rankings. Linda Abu Mushrefova and Nida Hamilton are 23rd and Abu Mushrefova and her recent playing partner, Veronica Corning are No. 72.

    Scouting The Zips
    Akron enjoyed a successful 2012 season that culminated with a second consecutive Mid-American Conference championship. The Zips went 21-3 during the regular season and added three more wins during the conference tournament, including a 4-3 victory over Miami (OH) in the finale. The total of 24 wins ties Akron for the second-most in the 64-team field with Duke.

    Though both Northwestern and Akron are in the ITA Midwest Region, Friday's meeting will be the first-ever between the Wildcats and Zips in a dual setting.

    Scouting The Fighting Irish
    No. 18 Notre Dame will make the short trip to Evanston for the NCAA Regional Championship for the second straight season. The Fighting Irish have gone 20-7 this year, to this point, and won a fifth consecutive BIG EAST championship in Tampa, Fla. in April.

    NU and ND have a storied history, meeting 38 times since 1983. The 'Cats hold 27-11 advantage in the all-time series, including a 4-3 comeback win earlier this year on April 4 in South Bend, Ind. Northwestern won the last NCAA Regional matchup between the two schools on May 14, 2011, 4-0 in Evanston.

    Scouting The Rainbow Wahine
    The Rainbow Wahine will travel approximately 4,866 miles to make their first NCAA Regional Championship appearance this week. No. 61 Hawai`i clinched the automatic bid to the tournament by virtue of claiming the Western Athletic Conference Tournament championship in Las Cruces, N.M. nearly two weeks ago.

    Northwestern has battled the Rainbow Wahine twice, most recently in 2007. The Wildcats blanked Hawai`i on March 23, 2007, 7-0, in Honolulu. The other tilt came on April 2, 1984, when the 'Cats pitched a 9-0 shutout in Evanston.

    Ticket Information
    Wildcats head coach Claire Pollard will generously pay for the ticket for any Northwestern student who wishes to attend the matches this weekend. For the general public, tickets are $7 for adults and $4 for fans 18-and-under, senior citizens and college students. All seats are general admission and can be purchased at the gate on the day of the match. Gates open one hour prior to the beginning of the first match each day.


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