WMU Falls In NCAA Women's Tennis Tournament
story courtesy of WMU athletic media relations
EVANSTON, Ill. -- The Western Michigan women's tennis team was faced with a tough task when it was matched against No. 5 Northwestern in the first round of the 2007 NCAA Tournament on the Wildcats' home court in Evanston, Ill. The regional No. 4 seed Broncos responded to the challenge and gave the top-seeded Wildcats all they could handle in a hard fought 4-0 loss on Friday at the Vandy Christie Tennis Center in Evanston, Ill.
The nationally-ranked No. 63 Broncos, who finish the season tied for the second most wins in program history with a 22-7 record, took three of the singles matches to three sets and may have gone to three sets in another match that was abandoned after the match was decided.
“I thought we played with a tremendous amount of heart. I was very proud of them. I think we could’ve been the toughest No. 4 seed in the United States. I think we played great," WMU head coach Betsy Kuhle said.
The Wildcats (22-4) started off strong in doubles by winning 8-4 at No. 3 doubles over Carrie Jeanmaire and Emily Dudzik and 8-2 at No. 1 over Ashley Moccia and Noriko Saruta to claim the doubles point.
Despite facing an early 1-0 deficit, the Broncos, playing in their second straight NCAA Tournament and fourth in school history, responded in singles by winning three first sets and pushing a fourth to the distance.
Jeanmaire won the first set against the 13th-ranked player in the country, Georgia Rose, 7-5 at No. 1 singles, Priyanka Parekh won the first set 6-4 against Alexis Prousis at No. 3 and Saruta won a tiebreaker 7-6 (4) against No. 119 Lauren Lui at No. 4. Kerstin Pahl was in a battle with No. 43 Samantha Murray before dropping the first set 7-5 at No. 2.
The Wildcats however, were able to extend their lead in the match to 3-0 with strong performances at No. 5 and 6 singles. Nazlie Ghazal defeated Ashley Moccia 6-1, 6-0 and Suzie Matzenauer won against Emily Dudzik 6-2, 6-0.
"You could see my first four players have all been to the NCAA Tournament before and you could see the maturity in them in playing in the tournament," Kuhle said.
“Give Western Michigan a lot of credit, they really pushed us," Northwestern head coach Claire Pollard said.
The Broncos would have to win each of the remaining four matches to claim the upset. Jeanmaire was leading Rose in the third set 7-5, 0-6, 4-3 at No. 1 and Saruta was leading Lui 7-6 (4), 1-6, 3-2 at No. 4 when Prousis completed her comeback against Parekh at No. 3 (4-6, 6-3, 6-0) to claim the match for Northwestern.
Pahl was trailing Murray 7-5, 6-5 in the other abandoned match.
“I’m really proud of (my top four players). I think they knew that they could play with these guys," Kuhle said. "They came out and they showed it. They’re very strong players and experience is a huge part of this tournament. I think that was probably to our benefit and hopefully that’s going to carry over to our team next year.”
Northwestern advances to Saturday's regional championship match against No. 24 Indiana, a 4-2 winner over No. 43 Boise State in the first match of the day.
Tennis Match Results
Western Michigan vs Northwestern
May 11, 2007 at Evanston, Ill.
#5 Northwestern 4, #63 Western Michigan 0
1. #13 Georgia Rose (NU) vs. Carrie Jeanmaire (WMU) 5-7, 6-0, 3-4, unfinished
2. #43 Samantha Murray (NU) vs. Kerstin Pahl (WMU) 7-5, 6-5, unfinished
3. Alexis Prousis (NU) def. Priyanka Parekh (WMU) 4-6, 6-3, 6-0
4. #119 Lauren Lui (NU) vs. Noriko Saruta (WMU) 6-7 (4-7), 6-1, 2-3, unfinished
5. Nazlie Ghazal (NU) def. Ashley Moccia (WMU) 6-1, 6-0
6. Suzie Matzenauer (NU) def. Emily Dudzik (WMU) 6-2, 6-0
1. #9 Alexis Prousis/Georgia Rose (NU) def. Ashley Moccia/Noriko Saruta (WMU) 8-2
2. Lauren Lui/Keri Robison (NU) vs. Priyanka Parekh/Kerstin Pahl (WMU) 6-3, unfinished
3. Alexis Conill/Samantha Murray (NU) def. Emily Dudzik/Carrie Jeanmaire (WMU) 8-4
Western Michigan 22-7; National ranking #63
Northwestern 22-4; National ranking #5
Order of finish: Doubles (3,1); Singles (6,5,3)
NCAA Tournament First Round
Official: Joy Duerr T-3:00 A-154