Feb. 20, 2005
Senior Cynthya Goulet and freshman Momei Qu picked up two victories, but neither player could find solace when their Illinois team fell to No. 48 Western Michigan, 4-3, Sunday afternoon at the Atkins Tennis Center.
Goulet found a way to win her 10th consecutive singles match, and paired with sophomore Emily Wang, defeated the Broncos' Malena Remynse and Maelynn Bernosky for the tandem's 17th doubles win, but the Illini lost the other two doubles matches and the doubles point.
Head Coach Sujay Lama, adamant about setting an immediate match tone, was frustrated that his team struggled early.
"I was really disappointed in how we came out for doubles. We know that the doubles point is extremely important, but we weren't ready to play. I think some of our kids underestimated Western Michigan," Lama said.
With her team trailing, 4-2, freshman Macall Harkins fought, while Sunday's No. 6 player, fellow freshman Anastasia Sokolova found herself in a familiar position - a position Wang encountered Friday night - Sokolova faced a 5-2 hole. Unlike Wang, the Palm Harbor, Fla. native could not overcome the deficit, instead losing in straight sets, 7-6, 6-2 to WMU's Noriko Saruta.
Harkins, winless in two straight matches, bested Carrie Jeanmaire 6-7, 7-5, 6-4 to bring the final score to 4-3; afterward her coach credited his No. 2 player's resolve.
"I'm happy for Macall," Lama said. "It would have been tough for her to have lost three matches in a row. She hung in there after the (team) match had been decided, and gutted out a three-set win, and that's not easy."
Recognizing consistency in the first three singles positions, the Orange and Blue leader would like to spread steady success over the other half of the lineup.
"We have been struggling at No. 4, 5 and 6 singles all season long for a variety of reasons. With Alejandra (Cuadra) and Anastasia, it's inexperience; with Emily, it's a matter of not being in good enough physical condition; and with Brianna (Knue), it's a matter of confidence," Lama said.
One day after losing to No. 59 Colorado, the Broncos pounced on the Nos. 4-6 Illinois players. Knue shut out Pryanka Parekh, 6-0, in the first set, but Parekh allowed only one point in both the second and third sets. Wang lost 2-6, 0-6 in the fifth slot.
Thankful for wins in the first three positions, which included a dominating 6-1, 6-0 win by Qu, Lama complimented his No. 3 player and Broncos head coach Betsy Kuhle after the match.
"Momei had a good week of practice. She's now capitalizing on her strengths.
"Hats off to Western Michigan. They played very well. Betsy is an excellent coach, and she always has her players prepared," Lama said.
Next weekend Qu plays a home match, as she and the team visit Portland, Ore. to play the Pilots Friday before a Saturday stop at the University of Washington in Seattle.
#48 Western Michigan 4 at #35 Illinois 3
DOUBLES: 1 Cynthya Goulet/Emily Wang (ILL) def. Malena Remynse/Maelynn Bernosky (WMU) 9-7 2 Rattiya Hiranrat/Noriko Saruta (WMU) def. #54 Macall Harkins/Brianna Knue (ILL) 8-5 3 Carrie Jeanmaire/Reedhina Parekh (WMU) def. Anastasia Sokolova/Momei Qu (ILL) 8-3
SINGLES: 1 #111 Cynthya Goulet (ILL) def. Rattiya Hiranrat (WMU) 6-3, 6-4 2 Macall Harkins (ILL) def. Carrie Jeanmaire (WMU) 6-7, 7-5, 6-4 3 Momei Qu (ILL) def. Malena Remynse (WMU) 6-1, 6-0 4 Pryanka Parekh (WMU) def. Brianna Knue (ILL) 0-6, 6-1, 6-1 5 Reedhina Parekh (WMU) def. Emily Wang (ILL) 6-2, 6-0 6 Noriko Saruta (WMU) def. Anastasia Sokolova (ILL) 7-6, 6-2