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EVANSTON, Ill. – Making its second-straight appearance in the NCAA Championships, The University of Akron tennis team lost 4-0 to 11th-ranked and 13th-seeded Northwestern in the first round of the Evanston Regional on Friday afternoon at Vandy Christie Tennis Center.
Akron (24-4) was an automatic qualifier into the 64-team bracket after winning the program's second-consecutive Mid-American Conference tournament title on April 29, when it defeated Miami (Ohio) 4-3 in DeKalb, Ill.
UA's 24 victories this season is the most since the 1990-91 squad finished with a 26-6 mark, but the win tally for the year came to a close today against the Big Ten Conference's regular-season champion, which featured two players in singles and one of its doubles teams listed in the national rankings.
Akron gave up the doubles point with losses at the first and third flights. Zara Harutyunyan and Prang Pantusart fell 8-3 at No. 1 to Linda Abu Mushrefova and Veronica Corning, the nation's 85th-ranked pair. At No. 3, Angelina Jogasuria and Olga Shkundina were defeated 8-3 by Kate Turvy and Belinda Niu. When the early point was claimed, the UA duo of Angelika Jogasuria and Natalia Kuvakina trailed 6-5 at No. 2 to Nida Hamilton and Brittany Wowchuk.
Northwestern (19-8) posted wins at Nos. 2, 3 and 6 singles to score match point and become the only team to shut out the Zips this season. Niu topped Shkundina 6-1, 6-1 at No. 2. Wowchuk, ranked 82nd nationally, downed Pantusart 6-0, 6-1 at No. 3. Hamilton downed Angelika Jogasuria 6-1, 6-1 at No. 6 to clinch match point and advance the Wildcats to Saturday's second round where they will meet Notre Dame.
At the time the match was decided, Harutyunyan and Turvy, ranked 20th, were tied 6-all in the first set. Play at No. 4 between Angelina Jogasuria and Corning sat at 6-3, 2-2 in favor of Jogasuria. Ksenia Berestetska trailed Abu Mushrefova 6-4, 3-2 at No. 5.
Zips Notebook: UA and NU were meeting for the first time on the tennis court ... Akron is the only team from the state of Ohio and the MAC in the 64-team field ... in last season's NCAA regional appearance, the Zips lost 4-0 to 10th-ranked Michigan in Ann Arbor.
No. 11 Northwestern 4, Akron 0
1. (85) Linda Abu Mushrefova/Veronica Corning (NU) def. Zara Harutyunyan/Prang Pantusart (Akron) 8-3
2. Nida Hamilton/Brittany Wowchuk (NU) vs. Angelika Jogasuria/Natalia Kuvakina (Akron) 6-5, unfinished
3. Kate Turvy/Belinda Niu (NU) def. Angelina Jogasuria/Olga Shkundina (Akron) 8-3
Order of finish: 1, 3
1. (20) Kate Turvy (NU) vs. Zara Harutyunyan (Akron) 6-6, unfinished
2. Belinda Niu (NU) def. Olga Shkundina (Akron) 6-1, 6-1
3. (82) Brittany Wowchuk (NU) def. Prang Pantusart (Akron) 6-0, 6-1
4. Veronica Corning (NU) vs. Angelina Jogasuria (Akron) 3-6, 2-2, unfinished
5. Linda Abu Mushrefova (NU) vs. Ksenia Berestetska (Akron) 6-4, 3-2, unfinished
6. Nida Hamilton (NU) def. Angelika Jogasuria (Akron) 6-1, 6-1
Order of finish:
Doubles – 1, 3
Singles – 2, 3, 6
Akron – 24-4
Northwestern – 19-8