Spring Sports: Weekend Wrap

 

So….some pretty big stuff went down last night, huh?  While we’re still celebrating/contemplating the demise of Osama bin Laden, let’s run down the NU sports results of this past weekend.  Rodger’s already covered the bigger NU news of John Cannon stiffing Carmody and the Wildcats and our football seniors being stiffed by the entire NFL, but our spring sports had some pretty big moments, both good and bad, too.

Let’s start with the biggest win of the weekend, in women’s tennis. Congratulations are in order to our Wildcats and head coach Claire Pollard for their 13th straight BigTen championship, which they delivered in dramatic comeback fashion Sunday. After going down 3-0 against top-seeded Michigan in the championship match, NU stormed back to win, 4-3, on the Wolverines’ home court, with freshman Belinda Niu clinching the victory by defeating BigTen Freshman of the Year Brooke Bolender. The team now moves on to the NCAA tournament, where the seeds and assignments will be announced tomorrow.

In lacrosse, the No. 5-ranked Wildcats turned in a strong performance, defeating No. 11 Virginia on the road, 8-4. NU finishes the regular season 15-2 and now moves on to the American Lacrosse Conference tournament, which is being hosted by Vanderbilt. As the second seed, the Wildcats will have a bye in the first round, which begins Thursday. NU will face the winner of the Penn State/Johns Hopkins matchup in the second round on Friday.

The men’s golf team placed second at the BigTen championships, with every Wildcat finishing even or under par on the tournament’s last day yesterday. NU started the day in third and was able to leapfrog No. 18-ranked Iowa, which finished third by two strokes. No. 12-ranked Illinois won the conference title. The Wildcats now await their NCAA tournament placement, which will be announced next Monday.

The softball team dropped a pair to Illinois, putting a big dent in their postseason hopes. NU is now 22-15, 4-8 in conference play, and needs to make a big run in its remaining six games to snag an NCAA tournament at-large berth. Saturday’s 5-4 loss was especially crushing, with Illinois getting a game-winning, walk-off two-run homer in the bottom of the seventh. (The box score lists the weather for the game as "Humans can fly in this wind." Nice descriptive touch.) Then on Sunday, the Illini beat NU, 5-3. One bright spot for the Wildcats was Adrienne Monka, who walked eight times in eight plate appearances this series, and has now reached base 22 straight times. NU’s season continues Wednesday, with a Senior Day doubleheader against Minnesota.

In baseball, NU dropped two of three to Illinois at home, as the Wildcats’ shabby season continues. The Wildcats are 14-25 overall, 6-9 in BigTen play.  Fortunately, NU sits just one game out of sixth place, which is where it needs to be in order to qualify for the BigTen tournament.  The Wildcats have nine conference contests left to make up that one game.  Against the Illini, NU won the first game on Friday, 9-2, but lost on Saturday, 6-3, and on Sunday, 9-4. NU next travels to Indiana for a three-game set that begins Friday.

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