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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Historical finish in loss for Badgers

Wisconsin capped off a historical season Thursday.

For the first time in the program's 33-year history, it failed to win a Big Ten match, losing 4-1 to Purdue in the opening round of the Big Ten Championship.

"You can say all you'd like to say about would have, could have, should have, whatever," UW head coach Patti Henderson said in a press conference Monday. "However, we came out on the short end of the stick."


Wisconsin (4-16 overall, 0-10 Big Ten) held out hope that Thursday's dual match would mark the end of a season-long slump due in large part to injuries. The last time the Badgers played the Boilermakers, they played close, losing just 4-3.

But from the outset, Wisconsin struggled to find its game, especially in doubles — normally one of the team's strongest points. And the Boilermakers took advantage, winning all but one match to take the early 1-0 lead.

Wisconsin's lone victory came from freshman Kim Roberts and junior Chelsea Nusslock, who played at No. 3.

After winning their previous six matches, the No. 56 duo of senior Caitlin Burke and sophomore Liz Carpenter fell 8-5 to the No. 57 duo of Brooke Beier and Mallory Voelker at No. 1 doubles. It was Burke's last doubles match as a Badger. She and Carpenter finished the season 11-3.

The meet didn't get much better from there.

At the No. 4 spot, Purdue's Cigdem Duru breezed past Nusslock, 6-1, 6-0 to give the Boilermakers a 2-0 lead. Beier followed Duru's dominating performance with one of her own. She downed UW senior Kaylan Caiati 6-1, 6-2 at the No. 2 position to conclude the latter's career.

Despite going down 3-0 — one point away from going home empty-handed — UW remained steadfast. And that, Henderson says, is something that can't be taken away from her team.

"Time and time again, we keep getting knocked down," she said. "But each time, we stand up, we're ready to fight, and we're ready to play."

From there, sophomore Erin Jobe outlasted Alejandra Boeker 7-6 (3) tie-breaker in the first set and finished off the second set 6-4 to give Wisconsin its first point of the night.

However, the momentum stopped there, as that was both the first and last time the Badgers would score.

The Boilermakers put the finishing touches on the match win when Anna Dzeva defeated UW junior Morgan Tuttle 7-5, 6-2.

Nationally ranked Burke (No. 31) and Carpenter were playing well at No. 1 and No. 3 in singles, but they didn't get the chance to finish — there was no need.

Burke ended the season with a team-leading 10-2 overall and 4-1 in the Big Ten.

Although the season can hardly be considered a success, it was a learning experience. And it was a test of will.

"There aren't too many more things that we could be faced with this year as a team and how they've handled it — and the character that they have handled it (with) — some of those things internal early in the fall, some of those things, injuries, illnesses, various other things…" Henderson said, "We talk every day about what's a winner, and what are the qualities of a winner, and just always putting yourself in the line of fire, and they've [done] that every single time."

Seniors honored

Burke and Caiati were honored by the Big Ten Thursday when the conference announced this year's awards. Burke earned All-Big Ten Team honors while Caiati was named a 2007 Sportsmanship Award Honoree. It was Burke's third such award and Caiati's second.

— contributed to this report.

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