October 2, 2017
Northwestern continued its unbroken streak of doubles victories at the Wildcat Invite this past weekend, picking up six wins to lift its season total to 14.
While the Wildcats’ top players skipped the tournament to prepare for the ITA All-Americans this week, the players who stayed behind continued the team’s doubles dominance. The pairings of freshman Caroline Pozo and junior Lee Or, as well as freshman Inci Ogut and sophomore Julie Byrne emerged victorious at the Vandy Christie Tennis Center.
“So far we are 14-0 in doubles,” coach Claire Pollard said. “You get to really see what works in the stress of competition.”
NU’s success in doubles spilled over into singles play.
In her first collegiate competition, Ogut impressed. In the first round, she split the first two sets against Florida State’s Andrea Garcia before closing with a 6-2 win in the third set. She then swiftly won her next match 6-3, 6-1 over Notre Dame’s Zoe Spence.
Ogut bowed out of the tournament with a 6-2, 6-4 loss to Utah’s Brianna Turley in the final of her flight.
Or’s experience showed over the weekend, and she easily swept aside Marquette’s Fleur Eggink in straight sets in her opening match. However, the second day proved less fruitful as she lost to Florida State’s Nandini Das in a tough three-set match to end her singles campaign.
Pozo also dealt with adversity, losing her first set of the weekend in a tiebreaker before fading in the second frame to Pittsburgh’s Callie Frey. After the loss, she was moved to the consolation bracket, and said she needed to improve her performance.
“Coach told me I need to move better, use my legs more and be more aggressive.” Pozo said.
Pozo took her coach’s advice and ran, going on to win her Saturday match in dominating fashion against Utah’s Leah Heimuli. She then beat Illinois-Chicago’s Rachel LeComber 6-3, 6-4 to win the backdraw of her singles flight.
Although most of the Cats performed well during the tournament, Byrne had a rough weekend, winning only one set over two days. She first lost to Michigan State’s Sara Kuuttila in a tight two-set match, and then lost in the consolation round 6-7, 6-2, 6-4 to Florida State’s Petra Hule.
More NU players will look to prove themselves at the upcoming All-Americans. Alex Chatt, Maddie Lipp, Erin Larner and Rheeya Doshi will compete in the Pacific Palisades in California, though Pollard said this weekend proved the team’s depth beyond the top four players.
“It really showed what a great, deep team we have this year,” she said.