East Lansing, Mich.-- The Northwestern Wildcats opened their defense of their six-consecutive Big Ten Championships by squaring off against No. 8 seeded Penn State. After defeating Ohio State the previous day, 4-1, the Nittany Lions looked to extract a measure of revenge for a 6-1 loss to the `Cats earlier in the season.
Northwestern took an early advantage during the doubles point, when, despite good rallies and quick play on both sides, the Wildcat team of Audra Cohen and Cristelle Grier won eight straight games to take the first doubles match, 8-1, from Lions Maaria Husain and Jenny Schular. At third doubles, Northwestern's Valerie Vladea and Feriel Esseghir earned the team the doubles point by defeating the Penn State squad, 8-3. The second doubles match was abandoned with the score 7-2 in favor of the Wildcats.
The first singles match to finish was on the third court. Northwestern's Alexis Prousis
defeated Lion Sarah Spence, 6-1, 6-0. At fourth singles, `Cat Valerie Vladea won 6-1, 6-3. The clinching match for Northwestern was at second singles, when Cristelle Grier took down Sasha Abraham 6-1, 6-1. The remaining three matches were abandoned. At first singles, Penn State's Maaria Husain pushed the nation's fifth-ranked player, Audra Cohen to a first set tiebreaker, but fell 7-6 (7-4), but Husain led 2-0 in the second set before it was abandoned. Wildcat Andrea Yung led 6-5 at fifth singles and teammate Alexis Conill had the advantage 6-3, 4-1 at the sixth spot.
The top-seeded Wildcats will face fifth seeded Wisconsin on Saturday at 12:00 noon ET. The Wildcats beat out the Badgers 5-2, in the first match of the Big Ten season. All match times are subject to change based on weather. Log onto BigTen.org throughout the 2005 Women's Tennis Championship for up-to-date scores, updates, and results.