Women’s tennis drops No. 9 Northwestern, 5-2

The No. 16 ranked Tech women’s tennis returned home after a trip to Ann Arbor in the Michgan Invitational to face Northwestern on Sunday Jan. 23. The Jackets started off strong early and after some close matches earned a 5-2 victory over the Wildcats.
The Jackets fought hard to win two of their three doubles matches before winning four of their six singles matches to secure the win.
In the first doubles match, senior Sasha Krupina and junior Caroline Lilley got the team off to a fast start in their match, forcing their opponents Linda Abu Mushrefova and Nida Hamilton to make difficult shots for the entirety of the match.
Both Krupina and Lilley were impressive with their forehand finishes. A memorable play from one rally was when Northwestern hit a drop shot that was barely tipped back over the net by Lilley in order to save the rally. Eventually, the save caused an unforced error by Northwestern, in a key play to secure the match victory.
Junior Viet Ha Ngo and junior Jillian O’Neill played in a close match on court two of the doubles competition. The match was highlighted by long rallies, as both teams were hitting difficult shots all around the court. Eventually, after big plays from both players, they pulled away on a break point, winning 8-5.
On the third court, junior Lynn Blau and sophomore Elizabeth Kilborn lost their match, 8-6. With the score at 6-7 after both teams broke each other, Tech was in position to tie the match when Northwestern earned a break point on a double fault to secure match point.
“There were a couple of big, keys points to the day, but being able to come out and establish a presence in the doubles got us believing that we could come through and be successful today. All three doubles matches played well and we put ourselves in position to win each of them,” said Head Coach Bryan Shelton.
The team fared equally well in the singles matches, with victories in four matches by Lilley, O’Neill, Krupina and Kilborn.
O’Neill was dominant, ending her match quickly, winning 6-2, 6-1. She continued to force her opponent Kate Turvy deep behind the baseline, eventually leading to a lot of quick finishes.
Ngo didn’t see the same results as her doubles teammate however, losing to Maria Mosolova 6-3, 6-0. The first set started off with Ngo allowing two break points. Looking at a 0-4 deficit, she fought back earning two breaks, before losing 6-3. She would not win a single game for the rest of the match, losing 6-3, 6-0.
Lilley struggled early in her match dropping the first set quickly, 6-1. However, after making some adjustments and regaining her composure, she fought back, winning the second set 6-1, and winning a close third set 6-4.
“It was nice to see Caroline steady her nerves and regain her composure after losing early and be able to bound back, she did a good job of looking inward in the second and third set to figure things out,” Shelton said.
Blau, lost in a close match 6-4, 7-6 (7-2), giving Northwestern their second and last point of the day. Her opponent Niu won the tiebreaker quickly, but that was not representative of the close match.
Krupina sealed the victory for the Jackets, with a strong 6-2, 6-1 win over her opponent Mushrefova.
To finish the day, Kilborn came back after losing the first set to win another close match 6-7 (5-7), 7-6 (7-4), 10-3.
Tech will look to build off this success when the Jackets host the ITA Kick-Off Weekend on Jan. 29. The Jackets will start the tournament against the Iowa Hawkeyes.

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