Junior Shivani Davé clinches home opener with her three-set victory at No. 5 singles.
Jan. 19, 2008
URBANA, Ill. - The Illinois women's tennis team dropped the doubles point but fought back in singles to overcome Marquette in its home opener, 5-2, at the Atkins Tennis Center today. Despite the tough loss of the doubles point, Illinois rebounded and played with a mission in singles, helping the Illini improve to 2-0 on the year, while the Golden Eagles dropped to 0-1 on the young season.
"I think the girls showed a lot of composure after losing the doubles point," head coach Michelle Dasso said. "We gathered ourselves in the locker room and came out focused to take care of business in singles. Claiming a 5-2 victory shows how much growth we have had since last year in our stamina and mental willpower to finish our singles matches."
The doubles duo of redshirt freshman Leigh Finnegan and sophomore Megan Fudge made quick work at No. 1 doubles to start the Illini off on the right foot. Strong serving and an early break were just the beginning for the Illini on court one, who within a blink of an eye had taken care of Lauren Little and Shannon Brown (MARQ), 8-1. With action heating up on courts two and three, the Illini looked to take the doubles point as the freshman pair of Marisa Lambropoulos and Annie McCarthy (ILL) were on serve at 7-6. However, the Marquette duo of Kylie Moore and Christina Ruiz won the final three points of the frame to seal a 9-7 victory and level the match. From there, Marquette closed out the doubles point when Maria Calbeto and Erin Watkins (MARQ) stole a break and held serve to upend sophomore Kristina Minor and Shivani Davé (ILL), 9-7, at No. 3 doubles.
Working from behind, Illinois found itself down 2-0 as Finnegan (ILL) dropped her match at No. 2 singles to Moore (MARQ), 6-4, 6-2. With its priority to work its way back into the match, Illinois fired back with wins at Nos. 3 and 6 singles to level the affair, 2-all. At No. 6 singles, Qu (ILL) found herself out of rhythm in the first set, down 0-2, but quickly found her stride to win 12 of the last 14 games en route to a 6-3, 6-1 victory over Margaret Wilson (MARQ). At third singles, Lambropoulos (ILL) looked a veteran in her match against Watkins (MARQ), cruising past the Golden Eagle, 6-3, 6-2.
With the match knotted at two, Illinois laid the pressure on in its final matches down the stretch. In the match clincher, Davé (ILL) took on Ruiz (MARQ) at No. 5 singles, storming out to a rapid one-set lead after dropping just one game in the opening frame, 6-1. A slight hiccup in the second frame led to a decisive third set for the junior, who then refocused and drove home a 6-4 match-clinching victory. Fudge (ILL) rounded out the Illini victories on the day, outlasting Little (MARQ) in a three-set marathon, 5-7, 6-2, 6-3.
Illinois returns to the courts when it takes on No. 62 Western Michigan in a noon battle on Monday, Jan. 21, at the Atkins Tennis Center. The match is the first ranked opponent the Illini have faced this season. Live scoring will be available through fightingillini.com by clicking on the live scoring link located on the right side of Illinois women's tennis homepage.
UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS 5, MARQUETTE UNIVERSITY 2
1/19/2008 AT URBANA, ILL. (ATKINS TENNIS CENTER)
1. Megan Fudge (ILL) vs. Lauren Little (MARQ), 5-7, 6-2, 6-3
2. Kylie Moore (MARQ) def. Leigh Finnegan (ILL), 6-4, 6-2
3. Marisa Lambropoulos (ILL) def. Erin Watkins (MARQ), 6-3, 6-2
4. Kristina Minor (ILL) def. Maria Calbeto (MARQ), 6-3, 2-6, 6-4
5. Shivani Davé (ILL) def. Christina Ruiz (MARQ), 6-1, 3-6, 6-4
6. Momei Qu (ILL) def. Margaret Wilson (MARQ), 6-3, 6-1
1. Megan Fudge / Leigh Finnegan (ILL) def. Lauren Little / Shannon Brown (MARQ), 8-1
2. Kylie Moore / Christina Ruiz (MARQ) def. Marisa Lambropoulos / Annie McCarthy (ILL), 9-7
3. Maria Calbeto / Erin Watkins (MARQ) def. Kristina Minor / Shivani Davé (ILL), 9-7
University of Illinois 2-0, 0-0 Big Ten
Marquette University 0-1
Order of finish: Doubles (1, 2, 3); Singles (2, 6, 3, 5, 4, 1)