The Northwestern men’s and women’s tennis teams kick off their Big Ten Tournament matches today after they each received a bye in the first round. Purdue will face the men’s team at 2 p.m. today, while the women’s team takes on Michigan State at 1 p.m. Read the tournament previews from earlier this week here: Men’s Tennis, Women’s Tennis
In other Northwestern sports news…
Three Wildcats from the men’s tennis team were named first-team All-Big Ten.
Dan Waldman discusses lacrosse trying to remain NCAA Tournament eligible.
Cole Paxton writes about the important of Kristen Wood returning to the circle for Northwestern softball.
The Baseball team is traveling to Indiana and the weather has already forced a rescheduling.
Last night was the first round of the NFL Draft, and the later rounds will take place today and tomorrow. Bobby Pillote and Max Schuman pondered the chances of Northwestern’s standouts earlier this week.
ICYMI, Ben Pope kicked off The Daily’s new running senior profile series ‘Curtain Call‘ with a profile on men’s soccer star Joey Calistri.
After a historic regular season that saw the team break the school record for wins in the regular season, it’s no surprise that the Northwestern men’s tennis team would be in line for some conference-level recognition.
And on the heels of that marvelous season, juniors Konrad Zieba, Sam Shropshire, and Strong Kirchheimer were all named to the All-Big Ten first team, the Big Ten announced today.
The junior trio were rock-solid all season in the first three singles spots for the Wildcats. Zieba manned the No. 1 position for much of the season, compiling a 14-5 record in singles in dual matches this season en route to being a unanimous first team selection. Shropshire went 7-0 in singles during the conference season to earn his third consecutive first team berth. Meanwhile, Kirchheimer had the best singles record on the team this season, notching a 20-1 mark in dual matches.
In an already memorable season for the team, NU has now earned three spots on the conference’s 12-man first team for the first time since 1989. The Cats begin their quest for a Big Ten Tournament title on Friday.
Despite being below .500, Northwestern’s softball team has a great shot at an at-large bid into the 64-team NCAA Tournament thanks to a tough schedule that has them No. 47 in the RPI rankings. But wins don’t hurt either, and with Wednesday’s victory over Loyola, the Wildcats sit just three games back of .500 at 20-23. Cole Paxton recapped the win in NU’s final home game of the season.
In other news…
Softball’s win over Loyola also marked a big milestone for longtime coach Kate Drohan.
The Big Ten Tournaments in tennis are rapidly approaching, and the Cats are poised to take shots at the conference title in both the men’s and the women’s tournaments. Garrett Jochnau gets you ready for men’s tennis’ Big Tens run after a historic regular season, while Mike Marut previews women’s tennis’ quest to reclaim the conference title after coming on strong in Big Ten play.
It’s been an quite the year for Joey Calistri. The men’s soccer star finished his career as a Wildcat in the fall as the second-leading scorer in school history, then signed a homegrown contract with the Chicago Fire of MLS, beginning his professional career. In the first installment of our Curtain Call series, taking one final look at Northwestern’s senior stars like Calistri, Ben Pope profiles a player making the leap and trying to find his way at the next level.
In other news…
The NFL Draft takes place in Chicago beginning this Thursday, and several Cats seem poised to hear their names called. Bobby Pillote and Max Schuman convened a roundtable to preview the weekend’s events.
Marty Johnson checks in with the softball team as they prepare for the home stretch of the season, beginning with today’s game against Loyola University Chicago.
The Big Ten announced its golf honors yesterday, with NU’s women’s golf sweeping individual awards and men’s golfer Dylan Wu being recognized as well.
Max Schuman took a look at the Cats’ chances of sending a runner to the outdoor track NCAA Regionals this season, and didn’t like what he saw.
After taking sixth overall as an individual at the Big Ten Men’s Golf Championships over the weekend, sophomore Dylan Wu was named to the All-Big Ten second team today.
Wu has been Northwestern’s best player this season, leading the team in stroke average and notching a pair of third-place finishes at the Windon Memorial and most recently at The Boilermaker to close the regular season. He ended his Sunday round in the Big Tens with two birdies in his last three holes to shoot 69, helping NU to a sixth-place team finish in the tournament.
Wu’s consistently solid play all season and strong finish to the year clearly impressed the Big Ten coaches, who select six players apiece for the conference’s first and second teams. Now, Wu and his teammates will wait to see if their performance this year impressed the NCAA Tournament selection committee enough to earn a bid and continue their season.
After winning a second-consecutive Big Ten Championship, Northwestern’s women’s golf team has swept the conference’s individual honors.
Sophomore Hannah Kim was named the conference’s Player of the Year for the second consecutive season, becoming the first player to win the award twice in school history, while coach Emily Fletcher was named Coach of the Year and freshman Stephanie Lau was awarded Freshman of the Year.
On top of those awards, four Wildcats were named to the eight-player All Big Ten first team, with Kim and Lau joined by sophomore Sarah Cho and junior Kacie Komoto.
It’s been an excellent few days for the program, as Lau sank a clutch putt to secure a conference title for the team on Sunday and the conference awarded all three individual honors to members of the team for the second consecutive year today. The team will now look ahead to the NCAA Regionals, beginning on May 5.
Northwestern’s cross country team is now roughly a month away from the end of its second outdoor track season since gaining NCAA sponsorship for track — a move that opened up huge new opportunities for the team. The track seasons in the winter and spring were once merely a chance for the Wildcats to stay sharp in the offseason, but NCAA sponsorship allowed the team to travel to run in high-profile meets and turned track into a main event after fall’s cross country season ended.
The sponsorship also allowed NU runners to qualify for the NCAA Championships at the end of the season. Last year, then-sophomore Andrea Ostenso qualified to run the 10,000m in the NCAA West Preliminary Championships after achieving a season-best of 34 minutes and 46 seconds during the outdoor season.
But this season, the now-junior Ostenso and fellow junior Jena Pianin, NU’s top two runners from last year, have battled injuries, jeopardizing the chances of sending a runner to the NCAA Regionals in coach ‘A Havahla Haynes’first season at the helm of the team. And with the outdoor track schedule nearing its end, the Cats have a lot of work to do if they want to change that.
NU’s best hope for a regional qualifier is senior Elena Barham,who currently owns the 59th-best season-best in the 10,000m in the West region at 35 minutes and 52 seconds. While only the runners with the top 48 times in each event from a region receive an initial invitation to the NCAA Regionals, runners who qualify in multiple events often choose to focus on one event, opening spots for other runners. For example, Ostenso received her invitation last year after posting the 52nd-best 10,000m time in the West region.
But even with the potential of moving forward as runners turn down invitations, Barham might still be too far back to qualify. Last year’s final qualifier for the West Regional’s 10,000m race was Colorado State’s Rachael Rudel, who owned the 55th-best time in the region.
And historically, Barham’s time in the 10,000m would not put her near qualification for the NCAA Regionals. Her current time would have been the 87th-best in the West last year and the 88th-best in 2014. As the season comes to a close, it is likely that Barham’s current season-best time will fall back in the pack.
Ostenso is a dark horse to make a run for NCAA Regionals qualification, as she nearly broke 17 minutes in a 5,000m race this weekend and has personal-bests in both the 5,000m and 10,000m that would have given her a good chance to qualify this season. But after missing the entirety of fall’s cross country season with injury and with not much time left to get back to the heights of last year, the task might be too much to ask of her.
It seems that if Barham, Ostenso, or any other NU runner wants to make the NCAA West Regionals, they will need to improve their times before the end of the season. But with only two meets left on the schedule, it might be too late to stretch the Cats’ regional-qualifier streak to two years.
This past weekend was one of extreme highs and lows for Northwestern. The women’s golf team won its second-straight Big Ten Championship, men’s tennis set a new program record with 24 wins and softball earned a much-needed sweep. On the flipside, the lacrosse team dropped an important match to Penn State, putting a potential NCAA Tournament berth at risk, and baseball continued its Big Ten woes at home. What you need to know…
Joe Wilkinson recaps what might be Northwestern’s next dynasty in the women’s golf team.
Garrett Jochnau discusses a mixed bag of emotions for men’s tennis despite setting a new program record.
Claire Hansen writes about the lacrosse team’s danger of missing the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2003.
Mike Marut illustrates an emotional weekend for women’s tennis.
Max Schuman explores the upcoming men’s basketball season, specifically regarding NU’s non-conference schedule.