Nationally-Ranked Competition Awaits Women's Tennis at ITA Division I Kickoff Weekend

Nationally-Ranked Competition Awaits Women's Tennis at ITA Division I Kickoff Weekend

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - The Harvard women's tennis team makes its first road trip of the season as it heads to Evanston, Ill., and the campus of Northwestern to compete in the ITA Division I Kickoff Weekend.

The Particulars
The ITA Division I Kickoff Weekend at Northwestern features four nationally-ranked schools: the No. 20 Wildcats, No. 34 Nebraska, No. 38 Boise State and No. 44 Harvard. Northwestern is one of 15 sites nationally, serving as a host for ITA Division I Kickoff Weekend action. Harvard will take the courts against Northwestern Saturday, Jan. 29 and play either Nebraska or Boise State Sunday, Jan. 30.

Scouting Harvard
The Crimson retained its No. 44 ranking in the most recent ITA Division I poll after downing Boston University, 5-2, in the first match of 2011. Harvard won five of the six singles matches and one of the doubles matches against the Terriers.

Hideko Tachibana and Natalie Blosser each grabbed a pair of victories in the match against BU, winning their respective singles matches and pairing to win the No. 2 doubles match. Holly Cao and Kristin Norton each won their singles match, as did Samantha Gridley, downing Vanessa Steiner, 6-0, 6-0.

Scouting Northwestern
The Wildcats began the spring ranked No. 9, but losses to No. 26 Vanderbilt and No. 16 Georgia Tech have dropped Northwestern to No. 20 in the most recent poll. Maria Mosolova ranks 52nd in the ITA singles poll, while the doubles tandem of Linda Abu Mushrefova and Nida Hamilton are ranked 30th in the doubles poll.

The Wildcats lost a dramatic 4-3 affair to Vanderbilt (Jan. 21). The match lasted over five hours with each team leading at different times, but Northwestern was unable to overcome losing the doubles point early in the match.

Northwestern dropped the doubles point to Georgia Tech (Jan. 23) to begin the match and were unable to recover, falling in the match, 5-2, to the Yellow Jackets.

Scouting Nebraska
The Cornhuskers are kicking off spring play this weekend. Nebraska will go up against Boise State Saturday and either Harvard or Northwestern Sunday.

Nebraska enters the weekend ranked 34th nationally as a team, without a single player or doubles team cracking the polls. The Cornhuskers are comprised of one freshman, four sophomores, three juniors and one senior. Four of Nebraska's student-athletes hail from Germany and two others call Slovakia and Finland home.

Scouting Boise State
The No. 38 Broncos opened 2011 with two wins. Boise State downed Denver, 5-2, and followed that win with a 6-1 defeat of No. 71 Colorado.

Boise State is led by senior Lauren Megale who was selected as the Verizon Western Athletic Conference Women's Tennis Player of the Week for Jan. 17-23. Megale won the top singles and doubles matches against Denver and Colorado to earn the honor.

Megale and doubles partner Sonia Klamcynska are ranked 90th in the ITA doubles poll. The pair of Klamcynska and Marlena Pietzuch rank 77th nationally.

Looking Ahead
The Crimson will be in action again Feb. 5 when Boston College visits the Murr Center Tennis Courts. Match time is scheduled for 11:30 a.m.