The Wisconsin women’s tennis team went into the weekend with the chance to match, if not exceed, its 3-9 conference record from a year ago, but matches against two top-50 teams proved to be the end of that goal.
Riding a five-game losing streak going into the weekend, Wisconsin (7-12, 2-9 Big Ten) fell to No. 12 Northwestern (16-6, 10-1) and No. 43 Illinois (13-9, 6-5) to finish its regular season on a 7-game skid.
Sunday marked the Badgers’ regular season finale at Nielsen Tennis Stadium in Madison where UW looked to avenge a 5-2 loss to the Illini last season. Wisconsin has not beaten Illinois since 2011.
Illinois struck first, taking the doubles point in two close matches by a combined 3 games. The No. 3 doubles pairing of Becca Bailey and Sydney Rider fell 8-7. The No. 1 pairing of Lauren Chypyha and Lauren Burich followed with an 8-6 loss leaving the No. 2 doubles match unfinished as the Fighting Illini clinched the point.
Illinois jumped to a 2-0 lead when Jerricka Boone beat Bailey 6-3, 6-0 in the No. 6 singles matchup.
Wisconsin picked up its first point of the match when Chypyha took down Allison Falkin 6-0, 6-4 in the No. 1 singles match, bringing the Badgers within one point of the Illini. With the win, Chyphyha improves to 25-9 overall in singles matches.
Illinois and Wisconsin would trade points as the Illini would take the No. 4 singles point and the Badgers would pick up the No. 2 singles point bringing the match to 3-2 mark.
The No. 3 singles match proved to be the decisive one as Melissa Kopinski would take down Burich 6-3, 6-1 to give Illinois a 4-2 lead and secure the win over Wisconsin.
The Illini would take the No. 4 singles point to bring the final to 5-2, handing the Badgers their seventh-straight loss.
In its first match of the weekend, Wisconsin faced a No. 12 Northwestern team that it has taken only two points from in regular season matches since 2004.
The Wildcats came to Madison with the No. 34, Veronica Corning, and No. 40, Belinda Niu, ranked singles players and No. 29th –ranked doubles team.
Northwestern quickly took the doubles point with 8-3 and 8-2 wins in the No. 1 and No. 3 matchups respectively to take an early 1-0 lead.
The Wildcats took the No. 6 singles point first as Nida Hamilton took care of Bailey 6-1, 6-2.
Northwestern took the No. 4 singles point next and followed up with a win in the No. 3 matchup to clinch the victory for the away squad.
In the No. 1 singles match, Wisconsin’s Chypyha put an early scare into No. 34-ranked Corning taking the first set 4-6. Corning would respond, though, taking the next two sets both by a score of 6-3.
Wisconsin would fail to take a match from Northwestern, giving the Wildcats a 7-0 win over the Badgers for the second year in a row.
With the regular season slate over, Wisconsin will travel to Evanston, Ill., for the Big Ten Tournament where it will take on No. 6 Minnesota. The Golden Gophers lost a three-way tiebreaker with Illinois and Indiana to take the sixth seed.
In the only meeting between the two teams, Minnesota came away with a 4-3 win on its home court. The Golden Gophers come into the conference tournament on a two-game losing skid.
Wisconsin will face off with Minnesota Thursday at 2 p.m. The winner will take on No. 3 seed Ohio State. The Badgers fell to the Buckeyes 6-1 in the regular season.