Illini Top Stephen F. Austin in Season Opener, 5-2
Jan. 13, 2012
FORT MYERS, Fla. - The Fighting Illini women's tennis team opened the dual season with a 5-2 victory over Stephen F. Austin (1-1) Friday afternoon in Fort Myers, Fla. Illinois (1-0) went 2-1 in doubles action and 4-2 in singles play, led by redshirt senior Marisa Lambropoulos and sophomore Allison Falkin, who secured wins in both singles and doubles.
"Most growth and improvement occurs when you play in a competitive match," Illini head coach Michelle Dasso said. "We not only did that today, but we did it playing outside, which is so beneficial for us. We looked fit, competed hard, and couldn't have asked for a better way to start off our season."
The Illini jumped out to an early lead, taking the doubles point with wins at Nos. 1 and 3. Lambropoulos and freshman Melissa Kopinski cruised to an 8-4 victory, while the duo of Rachael White and Falkin battled their way to a 9-8(0) win to put the Illini up 1-0 going into singles play.
Falkin's success continued in singles action, as the Roswell, Ga., native earned one of three straight-set victories for the Orange and Blue with a quick 6-2, 6-1 sweep over Jithmie Jayawickrema. Senior Amy Allin finished off her opponent in two sets as well, followed by Breanne Smutko's 6-1, 7-6(2) win over No. 101 Malena Gordo to clinch the victory for the Illini. Lambropoulos added a win of her own, taking a 7-6(1), 3-6, 7-6(2) thriller at the No. 1 spot.
The Orange and Blue will return to action next weekend for the home opener, taking on Western Illinois (Noon CT) and Illinois State (4 p.m.) on Saturday, Jan. 21 at Atkins Tennis Center.
Order of finish: Doubles (3,1,2); Singles (2,4,6,3,1,5)