EVANSTON, Ill. - No. 14 Northwestern and No. 8 Michigan battled toe-to-toe for over four hours, but the Wolverines came out victorious in a thriller 4-3 Sunday afternoon at Vandy Christie Tennis Center.
Site: Evanston, Ill. (Combe Tennis Center)
Score: No. 8 Michigan 4, No. 14 Northwestern 3
Records: NU (11-8, 5-2 Big Ten), Michigan (15-4, 6-1 Big Ten)
Next NU Event: Saturday, April 13 - at Penn State (University Park, Pa.), 10 a.m. CT
The always-crucial doubles point went down to the wire with Michigan eventually coming out on top to take the early lead. After blanking their foes from Michigan State on Saturday, the team of Veronica Corning and Alicia Barnett dominated again. The duo surged out to a 6-0 lead on its way to an 8-1 win over Amy Zhu and Kristen Dodge that gave the Wildcats the early advantage.
Michigan evened things up at No. 2 as 49th-ranked Sarah Lee and Ronit Yurovsky posted an 8-3 win over Belinda Niu and Kate Turvy, leaving the doubles point to be decided by a top-10 matchup.
The ninth-ranked team of Linda Abu Mushrefova and Nida Hamilton served up 4-3 against second-ranked Emina Bektas and Brooke Bolender. However, the Wolverines pair broke twice to go in front 6-4. However, the NU duo broke and then held to tie the match 6-6. Michigan was able to hold serve and then break the 'Cats, though, as Northwestern was unable to force a decisive tiebreaker.
The Wildcats got off to a good start in singles play as they took the first set in four of the six matches. Turvy, ranked No. 63, rolled to a 6-2, 6-1 win over 76th-ranked Sarah Lee at No. 3, evening the match at 1-1.
Moments later, Niu completed her comeback from a 4-1 opening-set deficit against Yurovsky by winning in a tiebreak.
The Wolverines reclaimed the match lead with a 6-2, 6-4 victory by Bektas over Corning at No. 1 and a 6-4, 6-3 win by Bolender over Barnett at No. 4. Northwestern closed within 3-2 after Mushrefova completed her 6-3, 6-2 win at No. 5 over Zhu.
That left the match to be decided by the matches at Nos. 2 and 6 where Niu and Brittany Wowchuk, respectively, won the first set. Their Michigan opponents both battled back to win the second set and force a decisive third.
Wowchuk was able to finish off Kristen Dodge 6-3, 2-6, 6-3, leaving the match to be determined by the contest between Niu and Yurovsky. Knotted at 4-4, Niu was able to break Yurovsky's serve, earning the opportunity to serve for the match. However, the nation's 39th-ranked player won each of the next three games to allow Michigan to escape with the win.
Northwestern returns to action at 10 a.m. Central time Saturday when it travels to Penn State.
#8 Michigan 4, #14 Northwestern 3
1. #2 Emina Bektas/Brooke Bolender def. #9 Linda Abu Mushrefova/Nida Hamilton (NU) 8-6
2. #49 Sarah Lee/Ronit Yurovsky def. Kate Turvy/Belinda Niu (NU) 8-3
3. Veronica Corning/Alicia Barnett (NU) def. Kristen Dodge/Amy Zhu (MICH) 8-1
Order of finish: 3, 2, 1*
1. #29 Emina Bektas (MICH) def. #96 Veronica Corning (NU) 6-2, 6-4
2. #39 Ronit Yurovsky (MICH) def. Belinda Niu (NU) 6-7 (4), 6-2, 7-5
3. #63 Kate Turvy (NU) def. #76 Sarah Lee (MICH) 6-2, 6-1
4. Brooke Bolender (MICH) def. Alicia Barnett (NU) 6-4, 6-3
5. Linda Abu Mushrefova (NU) def. Amy Zhu (MICH) 6-3, 6-2
6. Brittany Wowchuk (NU) def. Kristen Dodge (MICH) 6-3, 2-6, 6-3
Order of finish: 3, 1, 4, 5, 6, 2*