Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Northwestern and Ohio State Continue Big Ten Domination

Before the Big Ten Championships began, I was really looking for any major surprises or changes from what had become the norm. It turned out there were a few unexpected results along the way, but the ending turned out to be exactly the same as it has for many years.

The Big Ten crown has gone to the Northwestern Wildcats on the women’s side for the last 12 years. It didn’t turn out any differently this year, even though they were not the top-seed. The homecourt advantage didn’t prove to make the difference for No. 1 seeded Michigan, though they certainly put up a fight. The Wolverines were actually ahead 3-0 when Northwestern came back to take the next three matches.

Michigan won the doubles point and went up two more with straight set wins from Whitney Taney and Rika Tatsuno, but the momentum would change with Linda Abu Mushrefova’s (pictured, left) victory over Mimi Nguyen. The rest of the matches would go to the Wildcats, with a clinch from No. 2 player Belinda Niu who beat Brooke Bolender, 1-6,6-4,6-2.

The final at the men’s tournament featured an unfamiliar face. The Illini faced Ohio State in the semifinals instead of the finals as they had for seven years in a row. The Buckeyes prevailed and faced not second-seeded Indiana, but No. 3 Minnesota. It was the first appearance in the finals since 2003 for the Gophers. It was a quick one, finishing with Ohio State taking home their sixth straight Big Ten trophy after capturing the doubles point and straight set wins from Chase Buchanan (pictured right), Ille Van Engelen and Blaz Rola.

I’m expecting to see many of the Big Ten teams in the NCAA tournament draws. Look for the selection announcements on NCAA.com Tuesday, May 3rd, at 4:00 pm CST.
2011 Big Ten Women’s Conference Championship
No. 2 Northwestern 4, No. 1 Michigan 3
Maria Mosolova (N) defeated Denise Muresan (M), 2-6,6-3,6-1
Belinda Niu (N) defeated Brooke Bolender (M), 1-6,6-4, 6-2
Whitney Taney (M) defeated Brittany Wowchuk (N), 6-0,6-0
Kate Turvy (N) defeated Sam Critser (M), 6-3,6-3
Rika Tatsuno (M) defeated Stacey Lee (N), 6-1,6-3
Linda Abu Mushrefova (N) defeated Mimi Nguyen (M), 6-3,6-1
Denise Muresan/Brooke Bolender (M) defeated Belinda Niu/Linda Abu Mushrefova (N), 9-7
Whitney Taney/Rika Tatsuno (M) defeated Maria Mosolova/Belinda Niu (N), 8-5
Brittany Wowchuk/Elena Cherynakova (N) defeated Sam Critser/Mimi Nguyen (M), 8-6
Order of Finish: Doubles (3,2,1); Singles (3,5,6,4,1,2)

2011 Big Ten Men’s Conference Championship

No. 1 Ohio State 4, No. 6 Minnesota 0
Chase Buchanan (OS) defeated Tobias Wernet (M) , 6-1,6-2
Blaz Rola (OS) defeated Rok Bonin (M) , 6-1,6-4
Ille Van Engelen (OS) defeated  Sebastian Gallego (M) , 6-2,6-4
Matt Allare (OS) vs. Phillip Arndt (M) , 5-7,4-1 Did Not Finish
Balazs Novak (OS) vs. Brendan Ruddock (M) , 2-6,6-4 Did Not Finish
Julian Dehn (M) vs. Devin McCarthy (OS) , 7-6 ,3-4 Did Not Finish
Matt Allare/Peter Kobelt (OS) defeated Phillip Arndt/Sebastian Gallego (M) , 8-5
Chase Buchanan/Shuhei Uzawa (OS) vs. Rok Bonin/Julian Dehn (M) , 7-4 Did Not Finish
Blaz Rola/Balazs Novak (OS) defeated Tobias Wernet/Juan Pablo Ramirez (M) , 8-4
Order of Finish: Doubles (3-1) Singles (1,3,2)
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