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Tuition Tuesday: The Almost No-loss Weekend

As part of this site's ongoing testament to unprofessionalism, I've taken Batman42's suggestion and decided to never, ever, actually post a Tuition Tuesdays post on Tuesday. Don't ask why, just know that my weekly feature meant to be on Tuesdays isn't on Tuesdays, and that it never will be or can be.

ANYWAY. It was a banner freakin weekend for Northwestern's other sports, which almost swept the board in terms of winning the hell out of everything they participated in, with only one team that I can think of not completing some sort of major weekend objective. I would say it's the most successful across the board weekend in the history of Northwestern spring sports, but then I'd just be making things up to sound extra impressive for no apparent reason, but then again, this site is all about lacking professionalism, so screw it, I'll say it was the most successful weekend by anybody ever in anything.

Women's Tennis: What's better than winning one Big Ten Championship? What's that? Winning a national championship? Of course not, you fool, winning 12 straight Big Ten championships. For the first time in a long time, the women's tennis team's chances at the Big Ten tournament were in doubt, after snapping an 81-game conference winning streak earlier this year against Michigan. The Cats entered the tournament with the no. 2 seed, and for the sixth straight year, faced Michigan in the finals. (It's basically the NC-Duke of Big Ten women's tennis, as if you didn't know that.) Anyway, NU won, sweeping the final meet 4-0, restoring order to our chaotic world we live in. The NCAA tournament starts May 14th, maybe this time the No. 5 Cats will bring home the big one instead of just routinely bringing home the medium-sized Big Ten trophy.

Golf: What's better than winning one Big Ten individual title? What's that? Winning a Big Ten team title? No, of course not, you fool, having a different person from your team win the Big Ten individual title in the next year! A year after freshman Eric Chun won the 2009 conference championship, David Lipsky, who, in a shocking twist, looks like this, was the 2010 champ after posting a -3 in the four-round tournament at the excellently named Windsong Farm Golf Club. (Presumably, they play a sport called Farm Golf there.) Lipsky jumped into an early lead with a 4-under 67 in the first round that would end up being the best round any golfer would play over the weekend, and from there, he held on for dear life, Entering the last day, there were only two golfers remaining under par, Lipsky and Michigan's Matt Thompson; Lipsky shot par on the day while Thompson went two over, leaving Lipsky with a two stroke victory. The team finished in third with a +27, but nobody particularly cares. Just another feel-good underdog story: who would expect a golfer from a tiny, privileged, expensive private school to be able to beat out their public school rivals in a sport like golf? Now, I'm pretty sure they just chill around waiting to see if they made the NCAA tournament, which is a while from now.

Lacrosse: Almost a close call for the No. 2 lacrosse team, who might be headed back to No. 1 after North Carolina dropped the ACC Championship game to Maryland. The Cats played No. 4 Virginia Friday night at Lakeside Field, winning 11-8 in overtime after trailing 8-7 down the stretch in regulation, pulling even on a Danielle Spencer equalizer with only 50 seconds left in the contest. However, the results of the contest are sort of an afterthought, as it was the last game Virginia would play before the tragic news of the apparent murder of one of their players by a player from Virginia's men's lacrosse team: Yeardley Love, a senior defender, had played in the game Friday night as a substitute, and was found dead in her apartment in the early hours of Sunday morning. Obviously, condolences to all involved.

To segue back to sports, NU's next game was Sunday against Florida, who apparently just started having a women's lacrosse team this year, which is generally a bad sign when you're going up against a five time defending champion. Put it this way: it was 14-0 at the half. Nuf said. 14 is a lot more goals than zero. One is more goals than zero, so that would've been an okay number too, but 14 also works. They let up in the second half, only winning 19-5, but no matter. It was senior day, so the Cats made sure every senior got to score, even defenders and stuff, which is cool. 

The conference championship is next week, so the Cats will play the winner of Penn State and Ohio State in the semifinals on Friday with the championship game Sunday.

Baseball: Being in first isn't good enough: you have to stay there. That's what NU is realizing after decades and millenia of mediocrity/crappiness, as they took their conference lead into Illinois this past weekend. After having no players with more than three homers on the season before the tournament, the Cats exploded on the Illini, hitting eight in the three game stretch. Running back #1/center fielder Arby Fields went deep twice on Friday in an 11-4 win, hitting a grand slam and a three-run shot, good for seven RBI, which isn't bad for a lead-off hitter, and would also hit the Cats only homer in a 4-3 walkoff loss on Saturday. He'd finish the series 8-13 with eight RBI.

Sunday, the Cats went down 2-0, but then started jackin em. Paul Sneider - who is the team's leading hitter with a .387 average, AS WELL AS THE TEAM'S CLOSER JESUS CHRIST - hit two  of the team's four homers and recorded the save to give the Cats a 7-5 win. The dub gave NU their fourth straight series victory and keep them in a tie for the conference lead at 9-6 with Michigan. (Interestingly, the Cats 18-25 record overall is still good for the worst winning percentage in the conference, but never mind that! Look away, everybody! Nothing to see here.) The last time NU finished in first place in the conference was 1957, so, this is kind of awesome. They haven't even qualified for the six-team Big Ten tournament since 2005, but at this point, it seems like they're a lock to at least do that.  

They play Valparaiso - the Crusaders! - tomorrow in Gary, the University of Chicago - the Maroons! - Wednesday, and have Indiana at home this weekend. If you're wondering how little they care about mid-week out of conference games, consider the fact that they lost 9-0 in the opener of a doubleheader against Wisconsin-Milwaukee last week - they generally just throw out a random pitcher to get them some practice in game situations without much care for the actual result. (It also should be noted that NU and D-III Chicago played to a scoreless 6-inning tie last season. 

Softball: Michelle Batts, NU's designated player (like a designated hitter, but it's softball, so everything is slightly different just to be annoying), pretty much murdered Penn State herself this weekend. Saturday, her sixth inning shot turned a 6-5 deficit into an 8-6 lead, and Sunday, she hit two homers, including a grand slam, to give her seven more RBI and give NU a 9-5 victory. Needless to say, she was the Big Ten player of the week, although I wouldn't be surprised if she picked up that trophy and hit it like 300 feet just for fun. NU is now on a five-game Big Ten winning streak, and with only five games left in their season, they'll be looking to keep it going Wednesday against DePaul and this weekend against Wisconsin to potentially get an NCAA bid.

Men's tennis: Remember I said "almost-perfect weekend?" Yeah, the men's tennis team's season is over. Cry about it.