Wildcats Start Atop Poll
Jan. 9, 2009
Courtesy of Northwestern
EVANSTON, Ill. -- For the first time in program history, Northwestern finds itself with a No. 1 national ranking by the ITA entering the start of a season. But the accolades didn’t end there for the Wildcats, as sophomore Maria Mosolova (Moscow, Russia/No. 204) garnered a No. 1 singles ranking coming off her All-American freshman campaign.
“This is certainly a milestone for our program,” said 11th-year head coach and 2008 ITA National Coach of the Year honoree Claire Pollard. “I’m really very happy for Maria, who I think played the best tennis of her career this fall and came away with some impressive wins. She’s worked hard and she deserves the honor.”
On Feb. 26, 2008, Northwestern was elevated to its first No. 1 team ranking in program history and maintained its position for the remainder of the regular season, earning the No. 1 seed in the NCAA Championships. NU finished second in the final 2008 ITA rankings, less than a point behind NCAA champion UCLA, which is third in the latest poll.
Mosolova racked up a 41-6 record in her rookie campaign and was named the ITA National Player to Watch at the conclusion of the season. She posted a 23-3 mark in dual competition, including a perfect 10-0 record in Big Ten play on her way to Conference Player and Freshman of the Year honors.
During NU’s fall schedule, during which she notched a 13-2 singles mark, Mosolova won her first three matches at the All-American Championships, including a come-from-behind three-set victory against 2008 NCAA singles champion Amanda McDowell of Georgia Tech.
She also captured tournament titles at the Furman Invitational and Duals in the Desert while reaching the semifinals of the National Indoor Singles Championships before losing to Clemson’s Ani Mijacika, currently ranked fourth nationally.
Junior Samantha Murray (Altrincham, England/Altrincham Grammar), the 2008 ITA Midwest Regional champion, garnered a No. 25 singles ranking after posting a 13-5 fall record. 2008 All-American Georgia Rose (Mettawa, Ill./North Shore Country Day), who cracked the 100-win plateau for her career this fall, came in at No. 28 in the ITA poll.
On the doubles side, Rose and junior Lauren Lui (Houston, Texas/Kinkaid) are No. 25 nationally while Murray and senior Keri Robison (Decatur, Ill./Keystone National) checked in just behind them at No. 26.
Northwestern’s season gets underway on Friday, Jan. 16 in Evanston with the Wildcat Invitational. The Wildcats’ first true dual match comes Sunday, Feb. 8 when NU hosts No. 16 Texas.