After a big 9-5 win over USC put them into the top 10, Northwestern’s recent struggles against Stony Brook continued. The Wildcats fell 15-10 to the top-ranked Seawolves despite 7 saves from promising redshirt freshman Julie Krupnick and a career high-tying 4 goals from senior Sheila Nesselbush. Despite the setback, Northwestern has gotten off to a solid start of the season, sitting at 4-2 with a pair of top-20 wins. Next, they’ll take on Marquette at home on Saturday. Can the talented, veteran Wildcats find their way back to the Final Four this year after falling short in three consecutive seasons?
After starting the season with consecutive series losses, the young squad faced their toughest opponent yet in Texas this past weekend. Shockingly, the Wildcats managed to upset the 20th-ranked Longhorns in their Friday battle for their first win over a ranked team in recent memory, thanks to strong pitching from Quinn Lavelle and Tommy Bordignon and timely hitting from the Dunn brothers (Jack and David). However, the win proved to be a one-off, as Texas took the last three games of the series by a combined score of 38-11. The Wildcats have shown a lot of potential during their 3-7 start, but they have certainly felt their share of growing pains. After a scheduled midweek tilt with UIC was cancelled, Northwestern will set foot in Rocky Miller Park for their first home games of the season, taking on Mac Murray State and Judson on Saturday and Sunday respectively.
After a bounce-back season for Northwestern concluded with the Wildcats ranked 17th in the country, the team experienced an up-and-down Big Ten Championships this weekend. On the bright side, 4 wrestlers clinched berths in the NCAA Tournament, headlined by Johnny Sebastian, who placed 4th at 174 pounds. Conan Jennings (5th at 285), Sebastian Rivera (5th at 125), and Ryan Deakin (6th at 149) also booked their tickets to Cleveland. However, Northwestern’s other 2 seeded wrestlers did not manage to earn automatic berths. As a team, Northwestern placed 10th, which was a slight disappointment despite being their highest finish since 2015, given that they finished seventh in the regular season. Deakin was forced to medically retire from his last two matches, so things could’ve been better, but this season has constituted a clear and significant improvement for Northwestern. On March 15th, four Wildcats will have the opportunity to make it even more memorable.
Meanwhile, the Women’s Tennis team is making a significant case as the hottes team on campus. After back-to-back victories over Iowa and #5 Illinois to open Big Ten play, the Wildcats (8-3) have now won 5 straight, and their #14 ranking came before those two wins. Northwestern has now taken down Illinois a whopping 18 straight times in women’s tennis (HATHATHATHATHATHATHATHAT), and with back-to-back-to-back home matches with unranked teams on the docket, the Wildcats have an opportunity to make some serious noise.
Unfortunately, the men’s team is not enjoying quite the same level of success as their female counterparts. After back-to-back close losses to Vanderbilt and Harvard, they’ve fallen to 4-8, and need to bounce back in a major way as Big Ten play begins this weekend.