In its first weekend of Big Ten matches, IU women's tennis lost 4-0 to No. 41 Northwestern on Friday in Evanston, Illinois, and beat Penn State 4-1 on Sunday in Bloomington. The Hoosiers now sit at 9-5 overall and 1-1 in conference.
Against Northwestern, IU started strong in its doubles matches but could not finish them off. The No. 1 and No. 2 doubles courts favored IU early, but Northwestern came back on the No. 2 court and won on No. 3 to take the doubles point. From that point on, the Wildcats never looked back.
Behind strong play from its top two singles players, senior Julie Byrne and junior Inci Ogut, Northwestern grabbed three singles matches to win the overall match 4-0.
Along with its victories on the top two courts, Northwestern sophomore Hannah McColgan defeated IU freshman Rose Hu on the No. 6 court.
IU competed well in the other singles matches that were left unfinished despite the lopsided score. After dropping her first set, freshman Alexandra Staiculescu found herself in a close second set that finished at 6-6 on court No. 3.
Junior Jelly Bozovic also gave IU some momentum in her unfinished singles match. She was up 4-2 in her second set on court No. 4 after dropping the opening set.
IU returned home to face Penn State Sunday. The Nittany Lions hadn’t played a match since Feb. 16.
The match began with multiple doubles matches resulting in close finishes. Senior Caitlin Bernard and Staiculescu won a tight match 7-5 on the No. 2 court. The other two doubles matches went to tiebreak.
Before the match on court No. 1 could finish, senior Michelle McKamey and freshman Lexi Kubas won 7-6 (7-2) to gave the Hoosiers the doubles point on the No. 3 court. Ensuring the doubles point jump-started the Hoosiers, leading them to victory.
With singles wins from Bernard, Staiculescu and Bozovic, IU grabbed its first conference win of the season. The lone point surrendered came from Penn State junior Frederikke Svarre, who beat IU senior Annabelle Andrinopoulos in a retired match 6-0, 4-1 on court No. 2.
After its first conference matches, IU has an early break from Big Ten matches coming up this weekend.
IU will face the University of Notre Dame at 3:30 p.m Friday in South Bend, Indiana, and DePaul University at 10 a.m. Sunday in Bloomington.
Notre Dame will enter at 9-5 overall and 2-2 in the Atlantic Coast Conference, while DePaul is 5-7 overall and 1-1 in the Big East Conference.