I have mentioned in the past how Purdue has fewer Big Ten championships than even the University of Chicago, who hasn't competed in 66 years. In fact, Purdue leads only Penn State (57) and Nebraska (3) while it was tied with Northwestern at 69 until this weekend. the University of Chicago has 73.
Well, Purdue is now ahead of Northwestern and is a step closer to Chicago as the Women's Tennis Team won the Big Ten Tournament for the first time in school history. The Lady Boilers are now headed to the NCAA championships with an automatic bid. Purdue entered the weekend as the No. 5 seed, but beat Michigan State in the first round before upsetting No. 17 ranked Nebraska, No. 11 ranked Northwestern (the No. 1 seed), and No. 15 ranked (and No. 2 seed) Michigan to claim the title.The win over northwestern was the highest ranked team Purdue has ever beaten:
Jennifer Rabot clinched the 4-2 win with a victory over No. 19 Kate Turvy at No. 1 to give Purdue its first ever berth in the Big Ten Championship match.
Northwestern had previously won the Big Ten Tournament every year since 1999, 13 in a row.
Purdue turned the tables from the match just over a week ago as it took the doubles point. Rabot and Mara Schmidt were dominant at the top spot as they took out the No. 72 doubles team in the nation of Linda Abu Mushrefova and Veronica Corning, 8-3. The Purdue freshmen clinched it with a win at No. 2. Lynda Xepoleas and Daniela Vidal outlasted Nida Hamilton and Brittany Wowchuk 9-7.
Obviously, this was an impressive victory over a Wildcat team that hadn't lost a Big Ten Tournament match in 13 years. Purdue itself was ranked No. 30 nationally before the weekend, but it will likely go into the tournament as a top 20 team. Purdue is 18-6 as a team, but the wins over Nebraska, Michigan State, and Northwestern avenged regular season losses.
I'd like to claim I had a role in this. When I received my John Purdue Club thank you call it was from tennis player Anna Dushkina. While she thanked me, I thank her and the rest of the athletes for representing Purdue so well. I'd like to think I inspired her and the team's play this weekend, so this article is just another way I can support them.
Today's victory was a tight 4-3 win over Michigan in Columbus. The team will now make its fifth NCAA Tournament appearance and first since 2006.