Fresh into the top 10, Northwestern faces pair of top-20 challengers
Fresh off a strong performance at the ITA National Team Indoor Championship, seventh-ranked Northwestern continues to face top-tier competition this weeekend. The Wildcats face No. 17 Texas on Saturday and No. 18 Baylor on Sunday.
The Wildcats went 2-1 at the championship, beating Texas A&M and Florida before falling to California in the semifinals. That moved Northwestern up nine spots from their No. 17 ranking heading into the championship.
Belinda Niu picked up two singles wins on court No. 2 in Charlottesville, Va., to help pace Northwestern. Her win on Saturday against Alexandra Cercone clinched Northwestern's spot in the semifinals.
The Longhorns also participated in the championship but went 0-3. They dropped decisions to UCLA, Alabama and Texas A&M to drop their season record to 3-4.
Baylor has had a week off since its last match when it beat Rice 6-1 last Saturday. The Bears have started the season 7-1 and will be playing Vanderbilt on Saturday.
Baylor got a boost last Saturday with the return from injury of top-single Ema Burgic. She teamed with Alex Clay to win a doubles match but was forced to retire in her singles match.
In other Division I action, Stanford, which dropped a spot down to two in the national rankings despite not losing, faces No. 56 Santa Clara on Friday. ... No. 10 Virginia, which hosted the ITA tournament last weekend, faces another stern test when it plays No. 16 Alabama on Saturday. ... Ninth-ranked Southern California takes on No. 42 UC Irvine on Saturday.
Division II picks up in earnest this weekend with seven of the top 10 teams in action, highlighted by third-ranked Barry's match against No. 11 Florida Southern. ... Top-ranked Armstrong Atlantic plays against Georgia Southwestern on Saturday. ... BYU Hawaii faces in-state rival Hawaii-Hilo on Friday for the second day in a row before taking on UC San Diego on Saturday. ... Other matches this weekend include No. 7 West Forida against North Alabama, No. 6 Lynn against Palm Beach Atlantic, No. 9 Rollins versus Valdosta State and No. 5 Columbus State versus North Georgia.
With most teams still not having started their season in Division III, the schedule is light on top-10 matches. ... Fourth-ranked Claremont-M-S faces Cal State Los Angeles and Caltech on Sunday. ... Ninth-ranked Carnegie Mellon faces Division-II Slippery Rock and Division-I Robert Morris on Saturday.