A lot went down this week in Northwestern athletics. One program saw its season come to a final end, while others lived to fight another day.
After spanking first- and second-round opponents IPFW and Notre Dame, No. 16 Northwestern headed to Palo Alto, Calif., to take on top-ranked Stanford, and nearly eked out the win. The late-night contest on Saturday, unfortunately, wore on the ‘Cats, and eventually the Cardinal survived with a 4-2 victory. Northwestern ends the 2011 campaign with a 22-8 record (9-1 in conference play) and another Big Ten conference title, but for senior Maria Mosolova, sophomore Linda Abu Mushrefova and freshman Nida Hamilton, the season continues. Despite the team loss, the NCAA Singles championship will feature Mosolova, while the Doubles championship will feature Mushrefova and Hamilton, both next week.
The men’s golf team headed into Colorado this week for the NCAA Regional round, and found themselves in eighth place among a 13-team contest, with the top five teams going onto nationals, heading into the final day. Streaky senior Josh Dupont brought it for the final day; after treading in the back of the field after two days with a score of 10-over-par, Dupont checked in a 5-under-par (67) final round, combining with the rest of the squad to roar into a third-place finish. The ‘Cats will play in Nationals at Stillwater, Okla. beginning May 31.
Entering the final weekend against Big Ten leader Michigan State, needing victories and some outside help to make the Big Ten tournament, the ‘Cats balked in the first matches in East Lansing, Mich., losing by final margins of 3-0 and 10-1. The ‘Cats ended the season on a good note, however, by securing a 6-5 victory on Saturday against the Spartans, concluding their season with a record of 20-29 (10-13 in the Big Ten).
Lakeside Field was New York-centric on Saturday, as the final home game of all Wildcat sports was held against the University of Albany Great Danes in the NCAA quarterfinal match, with both rosters featuring a majority of players from New York. The ‘Cats shut this one away quickly, scoring 13 times in the first half, and nailed the coffin shut multiple times en route to an 18-4 victory. The Wildcats now move on to face UNC next week in the Final Four match up in Stony Brook, N.Y. It will be a homecoming for a few Long Island-born Wildcats, and a rematch against a Tar Heels squad that fell to Northwestern 7-6 in overtime earlier in the season.
- Northwestern Basketball announced one contest for next year’s campaign against Georgia Tech, a rematch in the annual Big Ten/ACC Challenge, this time in Atlanta.
- The courtside ‘Cats also announced the incoming transfer of sophomore forward Nikola Cerina from TCU. Standing at 6-foot-9, the sophomore will sit out next year per NCAA transfer rules, and will be expected to step in after the impending graduations of rising seniors Davide Curletti and Luka Mirkovic.
- Men’s basketball Assistant Coach Tavaras Hardy was promoted to associate head coach, effectively serving as the second-in-command to Bill Carmody.
- Northwestern center Ben Burkett (football) was named to the Rimington Trophy watch list, an award given annually to the best center in college football. This is the second consecutive year that Burkett has been named to the watch list.
- Northwestern football was given primetime scheduling for next year’s football home game slate, featuring 6PM CT start times against Penn State and Michigan, while also being featured in an away game against the Iowa Hawkeyes, also at 6PM CT.