Freshman Audrey O'Connor clinched Illinois' win with a straight-set victory on court six.
Feb. 24, 2013
URBANA, Ill. - The Fighting Illini women's tennis team (6-4) secured a 5-2 victory over Oklahoma (6-3) Sunday afternoon at the Atkins Tennis Center, snapping the Sooner's four-match winning streak and extending Illinois' winning streak to four. The Illini won the doubles point, and seniors Rachael White and Breanne Smutko, junior Allison Falkin and freshman Audrey O'Connor claimed singles victories.
"The team inspired me today," head coach Michelle Dasso said. "They dug deep with their competitive energy and fiery spirit against a very talented Oklahoma team. The girls wanted it, and it showed."
Smutko and O'Connor breezed to an 8-3 win over Whitney Wofford and Zita Engbroks at the No. 2 spot, but juniors Misia Kedzierski and Falkin dropped an 8-6 decision to Mia Lancaster and Abbi Melrose at No. 3, putting the doubles point in the hands of the nation's 21st-ranked duo, White and sophomore Melissa Kopinski. The Illini tandem climbed back from a 7-4 deficit to clinch the doubles point with a 9-7 win over No. 36 Hermon Brhane and Whitney Ritchie on court one.
"The doubles point was huge for us," Dasso said. "We always talk about plugging away and playing one point at a time. It was outstanding to see Rachael and Melissa do that against a very good team. They showed a lot of heart. It could have been an entirely different match if we hadn't gotten the doubles point."
The Illini dropped the first two completed singles matches in straight sets on courts one and four, but No. 119 Falkin turned it around with a 7-5, 6-2 win over Ritchie at the No. 2 spot to even the dual score at two points apiece. White added a 7-6(1), 6-4 victory over Lancaster at No. 3 to put Illinois one singles win away from its fourth straight dual victory.
O'Connor fought through a tight battle on court six to secure the Orange and Blue win with a 6-4, 7-6(4) decision over Engbroks, marking the second time O'Connor has clinched a dual victory this season. Smutko finished after Illinois clinched, taking a 4-6, 6-0, 6-1 win at the No. 5 spot.
The win was Illinois' first over Oklahoma in program history. The Illini are now 1-4 against the Sooners and are 6-0 this season when winning the doubles point.
The Orange and Blue will be back in action next weekend, taking on Northwestern on Saturday at 11 a.m. CT in Evanston, Ill.
#34 Illinois 5, #36 Oklahoma 2
1. #87 Hermon Brhane (OU) def. #106 Melissa Kopinski (ILL) 6-3, 7-6(1)
2. #119 Allison Falkin (ILL) def. Whitney Ritchie (OU) 7-5, 6-2
3. Rachael White (ILL) def. Mia Lancaster (OU) 7-6(1), 6-4
4. Abbi Melrose (OU) def. Misia Kedzierski (ILL) 6-2, 6-4
5. Breanne Smutko (ILL) def. Whitney Wofford (OU) 4-6, 6-0, 6-1
6. Audrey O'Connor (ILL) def. Zita Engbroks (OU) 6-4, 7-6(4)
1. #21 Rachael White/Melissa Kopinski (ILL) def. #36 Whitney Ritchie/Hermon Brhane (OU) 9-7
2. Breanne Smutko/Audrey O'Connor (ILL) def. Whitney Wofford/Zita Engbroks (OU) 8-3
3. Mia Lancaster/Abbi Melrose (OU) def. Misia Kedzierski/Allison Falkin (ILL) 8-6
Order of finish: Doubles (2,3,1); Singles (1,4,2,3,6,5)