After winning three of their four matches at the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Indoor Championships in Stillwater, Oklahoma this past weekend, No. 8 Northwestern women’s tennis has thrived early on and become a force to be reckoned with.
The ‘Cats had a remarkable team effort win this past weekend, backed by particularly strong performances by junior Clarissa Hand in a singles match against Texas Longhorn Anna Turati, who was ranked No. 5 in ITA singles. Despite this, the ‘Cats fell against the Longhorns 1-4 on the first day of the tournament but came back to take wins on Saturday and Sunday with scores of 4-0 and 4-3, respectively.
For doubles, the sophomore duo of Christina Hand and Brianna Crowley clinched the doubles victory for the ‘Cats 7-5, allowing them to complete the sweep of the No. 10 Oklahoma State Cowgirls.
Despite dropping their first match to No. 3 Texas 4-1, the ‘Cats came back to beat No. 9 Ohio State and No. 10 Oklahoma State. Graduate student Julie Byrne and Crowley delivered clutch wins against OSU, most notably, senior Caroline Pozo clinched a singles win in a three-set tiebreaker to push the ‘Cats past the Buckeyes, 4-3.
Coming into the championship ranked No. 13, the ‘Cats climbed to No. 8 in the latest ITA rankings, establishing themselves as one of the programs in the nation after a dominant weekend. NU currently posts a 4-1 record after last weekend’s efforts, which marks its best start since 2017.
The Wildcats look to continue their winning streak and impressive season record when Big Ten play begins on Feb. 12 against the Cornhuskers in Lincoln. From there, they will travel to Iowa City to matchup against the Hawkeyes and then return back to Evanston to take on three opponents on their home court at Combe Tennis Center.