Northwestern defends title at ITA National Women's Team Indoor Championship

November 18, 2009 10:05 AM

MADISON, Wis. -- Northwestern University captured its second consecutive ITA National Women's Indoor Championship title after defeating an unseeded yet upstart North Carolina team at the A.C. Nielsen Tennis Stadium, hosted by the University of Wisconsin.

The No. 2 Northwestern Wildcats displayed a hard-fought, four-day run at the ITA Indoor Team Championship after holding on for two tense, emotional victories on Saturday and Sunday. The 'Cats pulled another close W out of the bag, defeating 11th-ranked North Carolina 4-2 to continue its perfect 10-0 record.

North Carolina features one of the deepest doubles lineups in the country, with a remarkable three tandems ranked in the top 30 of the Campbell/ITA College Tennis Rankings. The Tar Heels picked up a win at No. 2, where Katrina Tsang and Shinann Featherston came back from a 3-0 deficit to take a 7-3 lead over NU's Brittany Wowchuk and Maria Mosolova. But the Wildcats evened things up with a victory by Samantha Murray and Kate Turvy at No. 3 to close out the 8-5 victory against No. 28 Jocelyn Ffriend and Kaley Hamm. While at No. 1, Elena Chernyakova and Lauren Lui outlasted the sixth-ranked duo of Sophie Grabinski and Sanaz Marand to win 8-6, helping the Wildcats to claim the doubles point.

The six intense singles matches began with all 12 players laying it on the line. UNC managed to even the score at one apiece with a 6-4, 6-2 victory at No. 5 by Sophie Grabinski over Wowchuk.

At No. 4, Lui, the 2009 ITA Sportsmanship Award Winner, squared off with Zoe De Bruycker and looked strong in winning the opening set 6-3. After falling behind 2-0 in the second, Lui responded to claim a 4-3 lead and eventually won the set 6-4, completing a perfect 4-0 showing over a four-day span against four of the nation's top teams.

The Heels captured their second point to tie things up at No. 3 with freshman Turvy unable to get past Jelena Durisic in the third set, falling 6-2, 2-6, 6-2.

The No. 2 match featured Northwestern's three-time All-Big Ten performer Samantha Murray against UNC's two-time singles All-American Sanaz Marand. The 25th-ranked Marand won the opening set 6-4 before Murray came back to take the second 6-2 before shutting out her opponent in the third and deciding set.

With Northwestern leading 3-2, the No. 1 and No. 6 singles matches simultaneously entered decisive third sets. Both Wildcats, No. 12 Maria Mosolova and Stacey Lee-stormed, out to 3-0 leads in the third, with Mosolova shutting down UNC's Katrina Tsang to win the set 6-1 and clinch the 'Cats second straight championship.

"I think it feels just as good this year as it did last year, especially because we have a new team and a younger team and we didn't know how good we were," Mosolova said after clinching the win. "We just proved to everyone that we stayed at the same level, and it feels great."

Northwestern becomes the eighth team in the 23-year history of the tournament to win multiple titles back-to-back. They are also the third straight team to accomplish the feat since 2004, following Georgia Tech's titles in 2007 and 2008 and Stanford's three-year reign from 2004-07.

First-Round Matchup: No. 2 Northwestern def. Tennessee, 6-1
Quarterfinal Matchup: No. 2 Northwestern def. No. 7 Florida, 4-3
Semifinal Matchup: No. 2 Northwestern def. No. 3 California, 4-3
Final Matchup: No. 2 Northwestern def. North Carolina, 4-2

#2 Northwestern 4, North Carolina 2
1. Elena Chernyakova/Lauren Lui (NU) def. #6 Sophie Grabinski/Sanaz Marand (UNC), 8-6
2. #22 Katrina Tsang/Shinann Featherston (UNC) def. Brittany Wowchuk/Maria Mosolova (NU), 8-4
3. Kate Turvy/Samantha Murray (NU) def. #28 Jocelyn Ffriend/Haley Hemm (UNC), 8-5

1. #12 Maria Mosolova (NU) def. #100 Katrina Tsang (UNC), 7-6, 3-6, 6-1
2. #48 Samantha Murray (NU) def. #25 Sanaz Marand (UNC), 4-6, 6-2, 6-0
3. Jelena Durisic (UNC) def. #85 Kate Turvy (NU), 6-2, 2-6, 6-2
4. Lauren Lui (NU) def. Zoe De Bruycker (UNC), 6-3, 6-4
5. Sophie Grabinski (UNC) def. Brittany Wowchuk (NU), 6-4, 6-2
6. Shinann Featherston (UNC) vs. Stacey Lee (NU), DNF

ITA National Women's Team Indoor Championships: Finals
#2 Northwestern def. North Carolina, 4-2

ITA National Women's Team Indoor Championships: Semifinals
North Carolina def. #1 Duke, 4-3
#2 Northwestern def. #3 California, 4-3

ITA National Women's Team Indoor Championships: Quarterfinals
#1 Duke def. USC, 4-3
#2 Northwestern def. #7 Florida, 4-3
#3 California def. UCLA, 4-3
North Carolina def. #5 Baylor, 5-2

ITA National Men's Team Indoor Championships: First Round
#1 Duke def. Wisconsin, 6-1
#2 Northwestern def. Tennessee, 6-1
#3 California def. Georgia Tech, 5-2
North Carolina def. #4 Georgia, 5-2
#5 Baylor def. Florida State, 5-2
UCLA def. #6 Miami, 4-3
#7 Florida def. Michigan, 5-2
#8 USC def. Clemson, 5-2

For complete results, visit