Fifth-ranked Northwestern was too strong for Valparaiso on Friday afternoon as the Wildcats defeated the Crusaders 4-0 in Evanston, Ill. in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament.
The loss snapped Valpo's 12-match winning streak, as the Crusaders entered the tournament as the Mid-Continent Conference champion. The Wildcats, the tournament's fifth seed as well, have now won 14 straight matches and advance to the Second Round on Saturday to face Notre Dame, a 4-1 winner over Iowa.
Valpo dropped the doubles point to open the match. The Crusaders' second doubles team of Rachel Janssen and Jill Dierberg trailed just 4-3 to Alexis Prousis and Kristi Roemer when their match was stopped because the point had been determined. The duo fell behind 2-0 before rebounding to tie their match at two. After dropping two more games, they posted a win in game seven to close within one before play was stopped against the 52nd ranked doubles team in the nation.
The nation's top-ranked doubles team of Audra Cohen and Cristelle Grier posted an 8-0 win at the top spot over Monika Danko and Christina Scala. At third doubles, Feriel Esseghir and Valerie Vladea also downed Whitney Chada and Kate Evangelist by the same 8-0 score.
In singles play, Evangelist gave the Crusaders their only lead in the match of the day, breaking the serve of Jamie Peisel to open the match. The sophomore eventually saw her match stopped trailing 6-1, 3-0 when the overall match was determined.
Prousis, ranked 76th in the country in singles, posted a 6-0, 6-1 win over Dierberg at the third spot. After being shutout in the first set, Dierberg evened the second set at a game each before eventually falling.
Northwestern (25-2) captured the third point of the day at the top spot as Cohen, ranked fourth in the country in singles play, posted a 6-1, 6-1 win over Janssen. Janssen dropped the first four games of the first set before breaking through with a win and added a game in the second set to close within 2-1.
The deciding point came at second doubles as Grier, ranked 21st in the country, notched a 6-0, 6-1 victory over Danko. Danko trailed 2-0 in the second set before recording her first game of the day.
Valpo had other strong showings against the nationally-ranked Wildcats in the matches that were stopped. At fourth singles, Scala dropped the first set 6-1 to Vladea before battling in the second. She took the opening game of the second set, then after dropping the second, won game three to take a 2-1 lead.
At the fifth spot, Chada took Andrea Yung to deuce numerous times, but could manage just one game in the opening set. Trailing 4-0, she closed to within three before dropping the set. She trailed 4-0 in the second when the match was stopped.
Valparaiso closes the season with a 15-5 record overall after going 8-0 in Mid-Continent Conference play.