After Monday’s contest against Northern Illinois was canceled due to rain, the Wildcats started off an up-and-down week with a bang Tuesday against Trinity International, winning 12-2 at Rocky Miller Field, powered by freshman catcher Jake Straub’s three-RBI performance. The Wildcats then split a Saturday double-header at home against Purdue after a Friday rain-out, losing the first contest 9-7 but winning the second game 14-1. The Wildcats hit five home runs in the late game, and sophomore starting pitcher Luke Farrell threw eight shutout innings to keep the Boilermakers out of it. A five error debacle in Sunday’s rubber match doomed the Wildcats to a 10-2 loss and ended the week on a sour note as Northwestern squandered a chance to get back to an even .500 winning percentage in Big Ten play.
Northwestern had a stellar week on the softball diamond, sweeping Ohio State in their only two games in the last seven days. The Wildcats unloaded on the Buckeye pitching staff, scoring 26 total runs over the two games, which both had to be shortened to five innings in accordance with NCAA mercy-rule regulations. Saturday’s 14-0 shutout win was highlighted by junior Adrienne Monka’s five RBIs and senior Jessica Smith’s five scoreless innings on the mound. Sunday’s offensive effort was spread a little more evenly, with Monka, Michelle Batts and Emily Allard all recording multi-RBI days. The win improves the Wildcats’ record to 22-13 in advance of Monday’s local match-up with the University of Illinois at Chicago.
After enduring fairly unprecedented struggles over the past few weeks, the women’s lacrosse team got right back to their winning ways this weekend, scoring two marquee home victories over ranked opponents at Lakeside Field. On Saturday, the Wildcats were forced to wait nearly two hours to take the field against the No. 20 Ohio State Buckeyes, and once they took the field, the game belonged to Jessica Russo. The talented junior scored a career-high five goals en route to a 14-11 win that capped the team’s ALC conference schedule. On Sunday, under considerably sunnier conditions, another junior carried the team against the Stanford Cardinal, this time with Shannon Smith scoring seven goals to tie a career high. The Wildcats nonetheless squandered a 11-8 lead over the last eight minutes of the contest before breaking the tie for good on Alex Frank’s game-winner with 23 seconds remaining. The ‘Cats won 12-11 to end their home schedule on a high note.
The Wildcats had a big weekend in the Women’s Big Ten Championship tournament, held over the past four days at the Lake Shore Country Club in Glencoe, Ill. The Wildcats as a team placed in third with a 35-over-par mark, but it was the individual scores of two of their entrants that truly made a splash. Sophomore Lauren Weaver (two-over-par for the weekend) and junior Alex Lederhausen (six-over-par) came in second and third place, respectively, on the individual leaderboard, and five Wildcats played Sunday’s final round under par. Michigan State won the overall championship, besting Northwestern by seven strokes.
The Wildcats’ bid of a Big Ten championship ended Saturday in Ann Arbor, as Northwestern fell to the No. 10 Michigan Wolverines by a score of 6-1. The University of Michigan, who will host the Big Ten tournament starting next week, clinched the regular season title with the win. The Wildcats’ Michigan adventure ended sweetly, however, with the Wildcats beating Michigan State in East Lansing, shutting the Spartans out 7-0. Senior Maria Mosolova’s 6-0, 6-0 singles win highlighted a dominant Wildcat victory and set the tone for the upcoming conference tournament.
The men’s tennis team had an even more difficult encounter against Michiganders wielding rackets, dropping both days of competition in Evanston this weekend. Friday’s match against Michigan State was a close 4-3 defeat, as Northwestern junior Joshua Graves fell valiantly in a third-set tiebreaker against Denis Bogatov in the top match of the day. Saturday’s match against the University of Michigan was similarly agonizing, with the Wildcats putting up a tough fight on Senior Day only to lose 5-2. Senior Andrew McCarthy nearly powered Northwestern to victory in his final home appearance, winning his singles match against Chris Cha and teaming with junior Tobias Reitz to win his final doubles match.
While the men’s golf team was inactive this weekend, its most prominent alumni, Englishman Luke Donald (WCAS ’01), approached the pinnacle of the professional game this weekend in Hilton Head, SC. Donald, now ranked third in the world, lost a three-hole playoff to Brandt Snedeker in the Heritage at Harbour Town, squandering a chance to jump to No. 1 with a victory. Donald still pocketed over $600,000 for his second-place finish, and should have plenty of opportunity to pass his countryman Lee Westwood for the top spot in the next few months.