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Tennis: Men’s and women’s squads drop matches over the weekend, set sights on ITA Kickoff

The ‘Cats will take positives from strong starts to the season into the national showcase.

Following a 3-0 start to the 2023 season, Northwestern men’s tennis traveled to Louisville, Kentucky over the weekend to face the Louisville Cardinals. The 24th-ranked Wildcats suffered their first loss of the spring season, with Louisville sweeping the singles and doubles points.

The team will head to Ann Arbor, Michigan this upcoming weekend for the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s 2023 Kickoff Tournament, a marquee event bringing together the top 60 men’s and women’s college tennis teams for a weekend of intense competition. Northwestern will have an early-season test to face off against programs it might not usually see during a regular season. On Saturday, the Wildcats will square up against the Arkansas Razorbacks, followed by a matchup with either Cal Poly or the Michigan Wolverines on Sunday.

In individual news, graduate student Trice Pickens was named Big Ten Men’s Tennis Player of the Week after leading Northwestern to three wins in as many matches to start the season.

Coach Claire Pollard’s squad also ran into some trouble last weekend. The Wildcat women hosted the No. 21 Vanderbilt Commodores at the Combe Tennis Center in Evanston and put up a strong fight, ultimately losing 5-2. The women will also be competing in the 2023 ITA Kickoff this upcoming weekend, as they head south to Charlottesville, Virginia to take on the South Carolina Gamecocks on Friday. Depending on the results, they will face either UVA or Washington State the following day.

You can catch some quality tennis next weekend as both squads return home to face formidable opponents. The men will host the defending Ivy League champions, Harvard, on Friday, Feb. 3 at 6 p.m. CT, while the women welcome the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets on Sunday, Feb. 5 at noon CT.