Wisconsin upsets MSU 4-0

first_imgCHAMPAIGN, Ill. — On paper, Wisconsin didn’t have a chance. UW was the 11th seed in a tournament with only 10 other participants.The squad’s first-round opponent — sixth-seeded Michigan State — had silenced the Badgers 5-2 just weeks earlier in East Lansing, Mich. And winning has, for the most part, been an exception to the rule for Wisconsin this season.But Thursday, the UW women’s tennis team confounded expectations, silencing the Spartans 4-0 in the opening round of the Big Ten Tournament. It was a match marked by polarizing comebacks, lopsided set scores and a form of dominant behavior heretofore unseen from the Wisconsin team.”It feels great,” sophomore Morgan Tuttle said. “Just to … get one postseason win is great — it’s a great feeling.”The Badgers started the day by claiming the doubles point, holding even on the second and third courts three games each before pulling away. The mid-flight UW tandem of Tuttle and Chelsea Nusslock defeated Stephanie Kebler and Jessica Baron 8-4, while Badgers Kaylan Caiati and Erin Jobe downed Marianne Eelens and Ana Milosavljevic 8-3 on the third court.Meanwhile, team ace Caitlin Burke and freshman Elizabeth Carpenter rallied from a three-game deficit to bring their affair on the top court to 5-6 before play was called on account of the point having been clinched.When matters turned to the singles court, the drama only heightened as several Badgers held close with their Spartan opponents well into the first set before a notable degree of parity was achieved. On the top court, Burke found herself at a 3-5 disadvantage and facing set point before rallying to pry the first frame away from Bader 7-5.After that, there was no looking back for the UW junior, who claimed her second set 6-0 and clinched the Wisconsin victory on the day.”She’s got a really big serve. I was struggling in the first five, ten games just to get her serve back in play,” Burke said. “She was winning her serves so easily. And then I started getting a better rhythm and broke her a few times, and I think that got into her head a little bit.”Once I won the first three games of the second [set], it was basically over.”The day’s first individual Wisconsin victory belonged to Tuttle, however, who made quick work of Milosavljevic on the fifth court with a 6-1, 6-2 win that drew to a close well before most of the other meets had concluded their first set.”I think I just went out there positive and confident,” Tuttle said. “I just wanted another win under my belt.”Carpenter garnered the day’s second individual victory with a 6-3, 6-2 win over MSU’s Sarah Andrews and that effort — combined with the doubles point, Tuttle’s win already on the books and Burke’s victory soon thereafter — was enough to clinch a first-round victory for the underdog Badgers and punch Wisconsin a ticket to the second round of the Big Ten Tournament.Still, UW found itself playing without sophomore Nicole Beck as she was sidelined with an injury Thursday. However, matters equaled out as Spartan standout Pascale Schnitzer — who almost certainly would have been slated to play against Beck — was also relegated to the bench with an unspecified injury that had her on crutches for much of the contest.”As I said to Michigan State, we’ve been in the position all year long of playing shorthanded,” Henderson said, in partial reference to an injury that claimed Burke for eight weeks of the spring season. “That might have been the first time that [Michigan State] psychologically had to go into a match without one of their players. That might have had something to do with it once we got in control.”Thursday’s victory secures the Badgers a spot in Friday play, where they will take on the third-seeded Michigan Wolverines in a 2 p.m. quarterfinal contest. Last time the two teams met, Michigan emerged victorious in a lopsided 7-0 effort.But it should be noted that the Wolverine win came only 24 hours before that 5-2 loss at the hands of the Spartans — a loss the Badgers finally vindicated Thursday.last_img

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