July 18, 2012
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Coming off its 12th regular season Big Ten championship in 14 seasons under head coach Claire Pollard, the Northwestern Wildcats revealed the 2012-13 schedule Wednesday. The 'Cats will play one of the toughest slates in the country once again with 17 matches scheduled against top-75 opponents including nine versus teams that finished last season ranked in the top 20.
"The schedule for the upcoming season is consistent with our philosophy of taking on the best teams no matter who they are or where they play," said Pollard. "Playing a strong nonconference schedule helps prepare us for the rigors of the Big Ten. We want to be playing our best tennis during the conference matches in order to position ourselves to compete at the highest level in the NCAA tournament."
Northwestern will begin a busy fall season on Sept. 29 when select student-athletes travel to Los Angeles for the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) All-American Championships. The main draw for the event begins Oct. 4.
Other members of the Wildcats will be in Tuscaloosa, Ala. concurrently (Oct. 5-7) for the Roberta Allison Classic at the University of Alabama. The following weekend NU will return to Evanston for the annual Wildcat Invite, Oct. 12-14.
Following the Wildcat Invite, Illinois will host the ITA Midwest Regional Championships in downstate Champaign from Oct. 19-23. Last season, three returning Wildcats finished as runners-up at that event. Brittany Wowchuk finished second in the singles competition, while Linda Abu Mushrefova and Nida Hamilton paired together for a second-place finish in doubles. The tandem went on to qualify for the NCAA Doubles Championship in May.
The fall season concludes Nov. 8-11 at the ITA National Indoor Championships in New York City. Abu Mushrefova and Hamilton represented NU at that tournament in 2011, reaching the semifinals before falling to the eventual champions from Southern California.
After a two-month hiatus Northwestern will get back on the courts in Charlottesville, Va. on Jan. 19-21, 2013 at the Virginia Invitational. Northwestern will host an ITA National Team Indoor Championship qualifying event Jan. 26-27. The winner of that event will move on to the main draw, which will also be held in Charlottesville, Feb. 8-11. The Wildcats won back-to-back ITA National Team Indoor Championships in 2009 and 2010.
After playing at Vanderbilt on Jan. 31, the Wildcats will play their next five contests, excluding a potential berth in Charlottesville, on campus in Evanston. NU welcomes Notre Dame (Feb. 17), Texas (Feb. 22) and Baylor (Feb. 24) in nonconference action and Illinois in its Big Ten opener (March 2).
Northwestern's first road Big Ten road match will be at Iowa on March 8 before the team's inaugural trip to Lincoln, Neb. to face the Cornhuskers on March 10.
The Wildcats return home on March 24 to tangle with North Carolina before the nonconference schedule wraps up four days later in Atlanta against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.
The next four opponents at home all come from within the conference. Minnesota and Wisconsin invade Evanston on March 30 and March 31, respectively. Michigan State comes to town on April 6, while 2012 co-Big Ten champions, Michigan, come April 7.
Trips to Penn State (April 13), Ohio State (April 14) and Purdue (April 19) conclude the road portion of the slate. The regular season finishes at home against the Indiana Hoosiers on April 21. The Wildcats clinched a share of their 12th conference championship in 14 years with a sweep of IU in Bloomington last season.
The 'Cats will return to Bloomington for the 2013 Big Ten Tournament, April 25-28. First and second round matches of the NCAA Tournament will be held May 10-12 at campus sites with the team and individual finals scheduled for May 17-27 in Champaign.
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