EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern captured the doubles point in dramatic come-from-behind fashion, and never looked back in a 5-2 win over No. 19 Notre Dame Sunday evening at Combe Tennis Center. Belinda Niu and Kate Turvy won the decisive tiebreak at No. 3 doubles to clinch the doubles point, and the Wildcats rode their early momentum out to a 4-0 lead in singles play before Niu's super-tiebreaker win at No. 3 provided the final margin.
The Wildcats looked like they would head into singles play behind on the scoreboard, but clutch play salvaged the critical doubles point. Linda Abu Mushrefova and Nida Hamilton, ranked 15th in the nation, captured the first Wildcat victory at No. 1, 8-6, over No. 30 Julie Sabacinski and Britney Sanders. Alicia Barnett and Veronica Corning fell at No. 2, 8-6, and the No. 3 duo of Belinda Niu and Kate Turvy had their backs against the wall down 7-4. However, the duo sandwiched a hold between two clutch breaks to tie the match, and ultimately forced a tiebreaker. Turvy and Niu fought to a 5-all tie, before taking the last two points to win both the breaker and the doubles point for Northwestern.
In singles, the two sides were evenly matched from the outset, with each squad taking three opening sets. Linda Abu Mushrefova took her opening set 6-3, and then pulled away from Molly O'Koniewski at No. 5 to win the second set 6-1. Veronica Corning won in a similar fashion at No. 2, pulling out the opening set before overwhelming Jennifer Kellner 6-1 in the second to give the `Cats a 3-0 lead.
Northwestern's lone freshman, Alicia Barnett, showed great poise in holding off Julie Sabacinski at No. 6, 7-5, 6-4. Barnett's win put the Wildcats up 4-0, clinching the dual win with three matches left on court.
No. 41 Kate Turvy battled No. 74 Britney Sanders at No. 1 all afternoon, but ultimately came up short in two extremely tight sets, 7-5, 6-4. At No. 4, Brittany Wowchuk dropped the first set 6-3, and fought back to force a tiebreak against Chrissie McGaffigan in the second, but fell 7-4 in the breaker.
No. 83 Belinda Niu was the last match on court at No. 3, taking the second set 6-4 after dropping the opener by an identical score. Niu dominated in the super-tiebreaker, winning 10-2 to push the final dual score to 5-2 in favor of the Wildcats.
Northwestern returns to the court on Friday, February 22, welcoming the 14th ranked Texas Longhorns to Combe Tennis Center. Action will get underway at 4 p.m.
Northwestern 5, Notre Dame 2
1. No. 15 Hamilton/Mushrefova def. No. 30 Sanders/Sabacinski (ND) 8-6
2. Kellner/McGaffigan (ND) def. Barnett/Corning (NU) 8-6
3. Niu/Turvy (NU) def. Gleason/Vrabel (ND) 9-8 (5)
Order of finish:1, 2, 3*
1. No. 74 Britney Sanders (ND) def. No. 41 Kate Turvy (NU) 7-5, 6-4
2. Veronica Corning (NU) def. Jennifer Kellner (ND) 6-4, 6-1
3. No. 83 Belinda Niu (NU) def. Quinn Gleason (ND) 4-6, 6-4, 1-0 (10-2)
4. Chrissie McGaffigan (ND) def. Brittany Wowchuk (NU) 6-3, 7-6 (4)
5. Linda Abu Mushrefova (NU) def. Molly O'Koniewski (ND) 6-3, 6-1
6. Alicia Barnett (NU) def. Julie Sabacinski (ND) 7-5, 6-4
Order of finish:5, 2, 6*, 1, 4, 3