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Women’s Tennis: Wildcats hitting their stride as Big Ten play begins

The No. 7 team in the nation is in the midst of a four-game winning streak

The No. 8 Northwestern women’s tennis followed up a successful trip to the ITA Indoor National Championships in Stillwater, Oklahoma, with two straight conference victories against Nebraska and Iowa, extending their current run of wins to four.

The unranked Cornhuskers proved to be a tough host for Northwestern. The ‘Cats opened the evening by securing the doubles point. Junior Clarissa Hand and first-year Maria Shusharina won 6-3, while the English/Irish pair of junior Hannah McColgan and graduate student Julie Byrne eased their way past Nebraska’s first doubles team with a quick 6-1 route.

In singles, McColgan, Byrne and Hand stepped up to each win their sets to clinch the victory for the ‘Cats. Hand’s win proved to be the decider of the contest. After dropping the first set 4-6 against Nebraska’s Isa Androver Gallego, she battled back to win the second set in a tiebreaker before pulling through in the third set, 6-3.

On Valentine’s Day, the ‘Cats traveled to Iowa City to face the Hawkeyes in what would prove to be a much more manageable tilt. The ‘Cats won the doubles points thanks once more and dominated in the singles matches. Only Byrne, playing No. 1 singles, failed to register a victory.

With their triumph against Iowa, Northwestern moved to 6-1 on the season. The latest ITA rankings place them in the No. 7 slot.

Starting this Sunday, the ‘Cats will have a three-game homestand against conference opponents Illinois, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.