Lacrosse and softball had an up-and-down weekend, the ‘Cats losing to Florida 13-12 in a heartbreaker and the softball team defeated Indiana. While you were tanning on the Lakefill, we broke down the best of the rest of Northwestern’s spring teams.
Finishing off its season with seven straight victories, the men’s tennis team is heading into the Big Ten Tournament on a hot streak. During that seven-game span, the team has won a total of 41 matches and only lost six. The ‘Cats swept their regular season finale, beating Minnesota 7-0. They head into the tournament boasting a 19-9 overall record and are 7-4 in conference play. Against Minnesota, senior Raleigh Smith had a back-and-forth match against No. 39 Leandro Toledo, but ultimately defeated his Golden Gopher opponent 7-6 (7-0), 0-6, 7-6 (7-4). On Thursday, the team will take on Iowa in the first round of the tournament in East Lansing, Mich. Then, if they beat Iowa, they will take on Purdue the following day. In the regular season, the ‘Cats defeated Iowa 5-2, but lost to Purdue 4-3.
The women’s team didn’t lose a match in its final weekend of regular season play either, beating Wisconsin and Minnesota 7-0. They will enter the Big Ten Tournament, which will be held this weekend here in Evanston, with the two-seed and will play the winner of Indiana and Penn State on Friday. They finished the season with a 16-6 overall record and were 10-1 in the Big Ten. Against No. 59 Minnesota, the No. 13 ‘Cats won in straight sets in all but one match. No. 43 Belinda Niu didn’t even give up a single game in her match, and sophomore Alicia Barnett finished off a perfect record in the Big Ten when she won her match. She went 10-0 against conference opponents.
In what has been a painful season for the baseball team (10-25, 4-10), a glimmer of hope showed its face this weekend, when the team won a Big Ten series against Nebraska. In just their second series win of the season — the first was a doubleheader Apr. 16 at Chicago State — the ‘Cats won two of three games in Lincoln, Neb. All three games were determined by one run, including the first game which the ‘Cats won 2-1 in 12 innings. In that game, pitcher Reed Mason went 8.2 innings, not allowing a single run and only five hits. The Wildcats sealed the deal when shortstop Cody Stevens hit a shot up the middle in the top of the 12th to put them up 2-1. Northwestern has now won four of its last five and is playing its best stretch of baseball of the year.
The softball team (27-11, 9-6) also had success this weekend, sweeping Indiana at home. The first game of the series was an 8-0 dismantling by the ‘Cats, causing the mercy rule to be enforced. It was also a historic afternoon because The Roof Club introduced a new member. Junior Anna Edwards hit a towering home run that bounced high off the MaGaw Hall wall in the bottom of the second inning. From there, the team didn’t stop, pummeling the Hoosiers until the game was called in the sixth inning. The ‘Cats will travel to Champaign, Ill., and take on Illinois in a doubleheader Tuesday.
After a series of middle-of-the pack finished in its last few tournaments, the men’s golf team was able to scratch its way up a few places in the Boilermaker Invitational. Despite finishing 13th, eighth and eighth in their last three tournaments, respectively, the ‘Cats delivered a sixth-place finish over the weekend. The two top performers were sophomore Scott Smith and senior Jack Perry, who both finished the tournament in 22nd place with a 5-over 221. The team gets a break this coming weekend before heading to the Big Ten Championships