What’s going on in the world of NU sports this week? We present to you, "Three Up, Three Down," a weekly look at goings on, both good and bad, related to our Wildcats. Normally, this feature will, uh, feature a lot of wit and some snark, especially when Rodger (and hopefully Loretta8) get involved in this. You might even see some of those hip hop treatises that we’ve all been waiting for, or at the very least, NBA Street Vol. 2 references.
This week, though, it’s all me, so, you get what you’re paying for. Without further ado…
Women's tennis: Just like on May 5, 1862, when the desperately outmatched Mexican army managed to gloriously defeat the French in the Battle of Puebla, leading to much celebrating with margaritas and sombrero hat decorations, the NU women's tennis team this past weekend staged a dramatic come-from-behind victory over Michigan to clinch the program's 13th straight BigTen title. The win earned the Wildcats a No. 16 seed in the NCAA tournament, which means they get to host regionals this weekend. NU takes on IPFW in first round Friday, with the winner then taking on either Notre Dame or Fresno State in the second round. Individually, Maria Mosolova qualified for the NCAA singles championship, while the duo of Linda Abu Mushrefova (a great name, I must say) and Nida Hamilton qualified for the doubles draw. The individual championships will be held May 25-30 at Stanford.
1World Sports: The obscure charity gets the Pat Fitzgerald bump, gaining a bunch of publicity by naming the NU football coach its inaugural Coach of the Year. 1World Sports aims to educate and inspire underprivileged youth by using sports to teach life lessons. In giving out the Coach of the Year award, the charity cited the NU football team’s academic achievement, community service and teamwork. Graduating seniors Stefan Demos, Al Netter and Josh Rooks were also named to the 2011 National Football Foundation Hampshire Honor Society for posting 3.2 or higher GPAs.
Women's lacrosse: With Florida’s loss to Cornell last weekend, NU moves to the No. 3 ranking in the IWLCA coaches poll, up from No. 5 last week. This means that if NU can hold serve and win out at the American Lacrosse Conference tournament this weekend, the Wildcats will ensure a top-4 seed at the NCAA tournament and home-field advantage through the first two rounds. The conference tournament begins with first round action today; NU has a bye until tomorrow. The Wildcats also picked up a slew of ALC honors this week, with Shannon Smith, Alex Frank, Colleen Magarity and Taylor Thornton being named to the All-ALC first team, while Alyssa Leonard was named Rookie of the Year.
- Undrafted football players: Corbin Bryant and Quentin Davie will remain in limbo for a while, as the NFL lockout means that they can’t sign free agent contracts with any team. Normally, teams would have each already signed a handful of undrafted players and begun gearing up for rookie minicamps. Bryant and Davie will have to wait a bit longer to see if they have a shot at a professional career. Davie just got married and survived a tornado, though, so he’s got that going for him.
Basketball centers: Not that John Cannon was a great recruit by any stretch, but his spurning of the Wildcats for Georgia means that NU goes into the 2011-2012 season with no insurance at the center position beyond rising seniors Luka Mirkovic and Davide Curletti. Cannon would have been nice to have, not just for the coming season, but also for 2012-2013, when recruit Alex Olah will be an inexperienced freshman. On the women’s side, Amy Jaeschke begins training camp with the Chicago Sky in about a week, but she faces a tough road to earning a roster spot, as she’ll be battling for the backup center position with fellow draftee Carolyn Swords and 2010 all-star Michelle Snow, whom the Sky picked up in a trade shortly after the draft. Given WNBA roster limits, it is unlikely that the Sky will carry more than one backup to all-star center Sylvia Fowles.
Softball: The Wildcats’ NCAA tournament hopes took a major hit yesterday, as NU got swept in a doubleheader by Minnesota. NU drops to 22-17, 4-10 BigTen. With just four games left in the regular season, every game is pretty much do-or-die. In the first contest of the doubleheader, NU got shut out 3-0, and in the second game, NU and Minnesota were tied, 3-3, going into the seventh inning, but Minnesota got the go-ahead home run in the top of the inning to win, 4-3. The Wildcats had the potential game-tying run on third and the game-winning run at first, with two out in the bottom of the seventh, but couldn’t get them home. NU returns to action Saturday at home against Indiana.