Women's Tennis Begins Big Ten Schedule
Boilers to face 25th ranked Wisconsin.
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The Purdue women's tennis team will open conference play this weekend as they travel to Madison, Wis., to face the 25th-ranked Badgers on Feb. 28, and Evanston, Ill., to compete against the 22nd-ranked Wildcats of Northwestern. The Boilers have won their last two matches with victories coming over Drake and Auburn. This weekend should present more of a challenge with both matches being on the road and both opponents ranked in the top 25. "This will definitely be a change because our victories came in matches that we expected to win in relatively easy fashion," says coach Mat Iandolo. "The two teams we face this weekend will be very competitive and it will give us a chance to see where we stand in the Big Ten."
Purdue is 2-3 heading into this weekend's competition. Sophomore Jennifer Embry leads the Boilermakers with a 4-1 at the No. 2 slot. Embry teams up with senior Mary Beth Maggart, Purdue's No. 1 singles player, to make up the Boilers' top doubles tandem. The duo owns a 4-1 mark in dual match play this season. In addition to Embry and Maggart, Purdue will need help from freshman Lisa Walgenbach and senior Hally Cohen at the No. 5 and No. 6 singles positions. Purdue is looking for an improvement on last year's seventh-place finish in the conference. Wins this weekend will definitely help the Boilers' cause, as Wisconsin and Northwestern finished third and fourth in the Big Ten, respectively, in 1997. Northwestern downed the Boilers last year by a 6-1 score, while the Badgers handed Purdue a 5-2 loss.
"Wisconsin has been on top for a long time and we have never beaten Northwestern," says Cohen. "These would be real solid victories and it gives us extra incentive to give it our best effort." "The girls are excited about this weekend," says Iandolo. "In order for us to win though, it's going to take a lot of concentration and a solid effort."