The beginning of March had a quiet start as the first day of Husker-related competition began on Wednesday. With tournaments, series and Big Ten Championship action, the week ended with much to take in. The DN Freshman Athlete of the Week is women’s tennis player Kristina Novak.
The women’s tennis team competed against three teams over the course of the week. The Huskers’ first meet was against Kansas State on Wednesday where they lost as a team 4-3. Novak competed in the meet and won her No. 3 singles match in two sets, 6-4 and 6-1. She then competed with senior Hayley Haakenstad in the No. 1 doubles match, but the match went unfinished with the score at 5-5.
The Huskers then competed in a triangular meet against Wyoming and Illinois State on Saturday. The team won both matches, defeating Wyoming 6-1 and Illinois State 4-0, and Novak competed in both meets.
First, she won her No. 1 singles match against Wyoming in two sets, 7-6 and 6-4. Then, she and fellow freshman Isabel Adrover Gallego fell in the No. 1 doubles match 6-3. Against Illinois State, Novak once again won her No. 1 singles match in two sets, 6-0 and 6-2. She and Haakenstad then won the No. 1 doubles match 6-4. So far this spring season, Novak is 9-3 in singles and is 5-2 in doubles with Haakenstad. The team’s next competition will be at conference foe Indiana on March 14.
The first honorable mention is women’s basketball forward Isabelle Bourne. The women’s basketball team competed in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament. After a hard-fought game, the Huskers fell to Michigan 81-75. Coming off the bench, Bourne had a career-high 16 points in the game along with a career-best five blocks. She also finished the game with a team-high six rebounds, a steal and an assist. On the season, Bourne played in all 30 regular season games with nearly 500 minutes. She finished the season sixth on the team in scoring with 178 points, but was second on the team in rebounds with 132. The team is awaiting to see where it will be seeded in the WNIT, which will be announced on Monday, March 16.
The second honorable mention is wrestler Ridge Lovett. The wrestling team competed in the Big Ten Championship this weekend. Over the course of two days, Lovett competed in the 133-lb weight class and finished seventh. On the first day, Lovett wrestled in four matches. In his first match, Lovett pinned his opponent 33 seconds into the match to advance to the quarterfinals. He then fell in a 1-0 decision and was sent to the consolation bracket. In his third match, Lovett pinned his opponent in the second period to guarantee him a top-eight finish in his weight class. In the fourth match, Lovett lost in a 9-3 decision to end his day. On the second day, Lovett wrestled in the seventh-place match and won by a 4-3 decision. Lovett is now 17-8 on the season. The team will conclude its season at the NCAA Championship on March 19-21 in Minneapolis.