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A Rose in Bloom

When women's tennis coach Claire Pollard recruited Georgia Rose to play at Northwestern, she promised her a chance to play for Big Ten Conference titles.

Today Rose has three of them.

Pollard promised her a chance to play for the No. 1 team in the country.

Last season Northwestern sat atop the NCAA rankings for nearly three months.

Now Rose wants to finish her collegiate career by leading her teammates to their first NCAA national championship.

"We've done so many things right over the last three years," said Rose, a senior from Mettawa, Ill. "It was disappointing to not win the NCAA last season, but we set ourselves up to really do that this year."

The Wildcats fell two rounds short in their quest for a national title, falling to the University of California, Berkeley, in last year's quarterfinals. That was a small taste of disappointment in an otherwise stellar career for Rose.

Heading into her final year, Rose has amassed a 105-29 overall record, including a nearly perfect 23-2 record against Big Ten opponents. She's a three-time All-Big Ten selection, including Player of the Year in 2007. She was an Intercollegiate Tennis Association All-American last season and finished the year ranked No. 14.

As co-captain this season, alongside fellow senior Nazlie Ghazal, Rose says she's ready to take the team to the next level.

"Claire has prepared me well to be a leader on this team," Rose said. "We've become so close as a team, and we're working both on and off the court."

No one is more ready to go on game day than Rose, said Pollard. And she has learned to be more vocal and to teach the younger players.

"Georgia doesn't care for sugar coating," Pollard said. "She's a tough gal, and you have to earn her respect.

"I hope other players learn from her great example and hopefully the legacy will continue." Rose wouldn't have it any other way.

— Marcelino Benito (J10)

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