Junior Megan Fudge clinched the Illini victory this afternoon in sunny Stanford, Calif.
Jan. 30, 2009
STANFORD, Calif. - The No. 36 Illinois women's tennis team defeated the No. 38 UNLV Rebels, 4-3, on Friday afternoon at the Taube Family Tennis Stadium to advance to the second round of qualifying at the ITA kickoff weekend. Junior Megan Fudge clinched the win for the Illini at No. 2 singles as she beat UNLV's Nikol Dimitrova, 6-2, 6-7 (3), 6-1.
"Today's match was a battle on every court," head coach Michelle Dasso said. "Our girls have worked so hard on two areas this year, winning the doubles point and conditioning, and today that worked paid off. The doubles point proved to be key and we played very well at all three positions. Five of our six singles matches went three sets and our improved conditioning was a huge factor in outlasting the Rebels today. We wanted the victory more and our mental toughness and conditioning out on the court determined the match. I couldn't be more proud of our performance this afternoon."
The Illini picked up victories at Nos. 1 and 3 doubles with the duo of Amy Allin and Annie McCarthy starting things off at the No. 3 spot with an 8-4 win over UNLV's Adrienn Hidvegi and Nikol Dimitrova. At No. 1 doubles, the Orange and Blue tandem of Leigh Finnegan and Fudge took a decisive 8-4 victory over the Rebel's Kristina Nedeltcheva and Katy Williams to clinch the doubles point for the Illini.
In singles, the Rebels took wins at Nos. 5 and 6, but freshman Chelcie Abajian added to the Illini score with a three-set victory over Anna Maskaljun. Abajian dropped the first set then bounced back to finish the second and third sets strong taking a 4-6, 6-1, 6-3 win at No. 4 singles.
Sophomore Marisa Lambropoulos kept the ball rolling taking a three-set victory over the Rebel's Williams at No. 3 singles, 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (5).
At No. 1 singles, sophomore Leigh Finnegan battled hard, but fell short in the third-set tiebreaker. With the score 3-3, Fudge sealed the Illinois victory at No. 2 singles.
"Marisa and Chelcie came up huge for us today," Dasso added. "After dropping their first sets, both girls somehow found a way to win. Leigh played a heck of a match at No. 1 and Megan clinched the win for us today."
The Illini will face the winner of the Stanford/Colorado match on Saturday, Jan. 31. The 15 women's teams across the country that win both of their matches at the kickoff weekend will be invited to the 2009 Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) National women's tennis indoor championships, hosted by the University of Wisconsin, Feb. 13-16.
#36 Illinois 4 , #38 UNLV 3
Jan. 30, 2009
1) Fudge/Finnegan (UI) d. Nedeltcheva/Williams (UNLV), 8-4
2) Abajian/Lambropoulos (UI) vs. Razina/Maskaljun (UNLV), aban.
3) Allin/McCarthy (UI) d. Hidvegi/Dimitrova (UNLV), 8-4
OOF: 3, 1, 2
1) Nedeltcheva (UNLV) d. Finnegan (UI); 5-7, 6-3, 7-6(0)
2) Fudge (UI) d. Dimitrova (UNLV); 6-2, 6-7(3), 6-1
3) Lambropoulos (UI) d. Williams (UNLV); 3-6, 6-4, 7-6(5)
4) Abajian (UI) d. Maskaljun (UNLV); 4-6, 6-1, 6-3
5) Hidvegi (UNLV) d. Allin (UI); 7-6(2), 6-1
6) Terzieva (UNLV) d. Minor (UI); 6-2, 3-6, 6-4
OOF: 6, 5, 4, 3, 1, 2*
* denotes clinching match