May 8, 2009

EVANSTON, Ill. -- No. 1-seeded Northwestern needed just under two hours to post a 4-0 victory against No. 72 Miami (Ohio) Friday afternoon in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in Evanston. The Wildcats are back in action on their home courts against No. 26 Kentucky at noon Saturday with a bid to the round of 16 in College Station, Texas, on the line.

Kentucky moved into the second round earlier in the day with a 4-0 win over No. 37 Ohio State in a match that was much closer than the final team score would indicate. NU is 8-2 all-time against Kentucky.

"Even though we won comfortably, a match like this helps us because Miami is a good team and the competition will be a big step up starting tomorrow," said head coach Claire Pollard. "I felt we didn't let them into matches and I was pleased that Sam (Murray) played well after being out for a little bit so that gives us all more confidence."

MAC-champion Miami (Ohio) (16-7), playing in the NCAA Championships for the first time in program history, ran into a Northwestern team that has now recorded eight consecutive shutouts.

Northwestern (26-1) raced to a 1-0 lead in doubles with a pair of 8-1 wins at the first and third positions. Elena Chernyakova and Samantha Murray were the first Wildcats off the courts with a victory against Brintney Larson and Riekie Honiball, improving to 21-2 in dual matches in the process.

The 20th-ranked tandem of Georgia Rose and Lauren Lui followed suit with their 23rd doubles victory of the season, beating Stephanie Danesis and Megan Martzolf 8-1. Rose finished a backhand volley at the net that split the RedHawks down the middle and clinched the doubles point for the 'Cats.

Moving into singles, Lui put Northwestern ahead 2-0 with her 6-1, 6-0 win over Martzolf, giving her a team-leading 34 singles wins in her junior campaign. Keri Robison was not far behind with her 6-2, 6-1 win against Honiball at No. 6.

"We were all a little bit anxious to get back out on the court, we've been training a lot off the court and doing a lot of running so it was nice to get some matches in again," Robison said. "I felt I struggled a little bit in doubles and got off to a slow start in singles but I was happy to come out with a win today."

The clinching victory came at third singles courtesy of Murray, who downed Danesis by a 6-3, 6-4 decision. Murray finished the afternoon's action with a crosscourt forehand winner that fell just inside the left sideline and out of the reach of Danesis.

Miami (Ohio)'s top two singles spots are occupied by the last two MAC Freshmen of the Year, Monica Gorny and Anastasia Dracheva, who battled Mosolova and Rose, respectively, to unfinished match endings. Mosolova and Gorny matched one another step-for-step through the entire first set, in which the top-ranked NU sophomore edged Gorny 7-5 in tiebreakers.

No. 1 Northwestern 4, No. 72 Miami (Ohio) 0 Singles 1: Maria Mosolova (NU) vs. Monica Gorny (MU), 7-6 (5) unfinished 2: Georgia Rose (NU) vs. Anastasia Dracheva (MU), 6-1, 3-4 unfinished 3: Samantha Murray (NU) def. Stephanie Danesis (MU) 6-3, 6-4 4: Lauren Lui (NU) def. Megan Martzolf (MU), 6-1, 6-0 5: Nazlie Ghazal (NU) vs. Brintney Larson (MU), 6-1, 2-6 unfinished 6: Keri Robison (NU) def. Riekie Honiball (MU)-, 6-2, 6-1

Doubles 1: Lui/Rose (NU) def. Danesis/Martzolf, 8-1 2: Mosolova/Robison (NU) vs. Dracheva/ Gorny, 4-3 (unfinished) 3: Chernyakova/Murray (NU) def. Larson/Honiball, 8-1