Illini Sweep Gophers, 7-0
April 4, 2009
URBANA, Ill. - The 40th-ranked Illinois women's tennis team returned home this weekend with a dominating victory over the No. 65 Minnesota Gophers in Urbana this afternoon. The win improves the Illinois squad to 13-4 and 4-1 in Big Ten play, while Minnesota falls to 9-8 and 2-4 in the conference.
Today's match marked the Orange and Blue's first opportunity to play on the newly constructed outdoor courts at the Khan Outdoor Tennis Complex. Illinois stole the momentum early as they earned the doubles point with wins at No. 2 and No. 3 doubles giving the team 1-0 advantage over the Gophers.
"I think every person out there battled," Illlinois head coach Michelle Dasso said. "Minnesota is a very good team and to come away with a 7-0 win over such a good team has got to give us some confidence. Minnesota has won eight doubles points in a row, so to be able to get that doubles point was huge. That gave us more confidence going into the singles. To get a 7-0 win playing on our new tennis facility on the outdoor courts against a good team is just awesome."
In doubles, freshman Chelcie Abajian and redshirt-sophomore Leigh Finnegan were first to strike for the Illini. The duo battled against Minnesota's Tijana Kopivica and Jackie Sperling pulling out an 8-6 victory on No. 2 doubles. At No. 1 doubles the Gophers evened out the wins as Megan Fudge and Marissa Lambropoulos fell to the No. 52-ranked Karina Chiarelli and Alessandra Ferrazzi (MINN) 3-8. The Illini fought back as sophomore Annie McCarthy and freshman Amy Allin clinched the doubles point for Illinois with an 8-5 victory over Minnesota's Elena Kasakova and Magdalena Wiecha at No. 3 doubles.
The Illini drive was strong to start out singles. Freshman Amy Allin rolled through her first set at No. 5 singles over Magdalena Wiecha (MINN) 6-2. In the second set Allin battled back from a 0-3 deficit to give the Orange and Blue the first singles victory securing the second set 6-4. Illinois continued their roll at No. 4 singles as sophomore Marisa Lambropolous handled the Gophers' Alex Seaton quickly 6-3, 6-1 and gave the Illini a 3-0 advantage.
No. 108-ranked junior Megan Fudge clinched the match for the Fighting Illini downing Tijana Koprivica 6-4, 6-2 in the No. 2 slot.
Meanwhile, redshirt sophomore Leigh Finnegan, freshman Chelcie Abajian, and junior Kristina Minor all won their first sets, but each fell short 7-6 in second set tiebreakers. Abajian came back strong in the third set and overtook Nitooli Wilkins (MIN) in the super tiebreaker, 10-8 on court 3.
No. 111 Leigh Finnegan also won her third set in a super tiebreaker fashion, 10-7 over Minnesota's Karina Chiarelli at No. 1 singles. With a 6-0 lead over the Gophers, in the No. 6 slot junior Kristina Minor played out her third set with a 6-3 victory against Jackie Sperling and sealed the sweep for the Illini with an overall match score of 7-0 over the Gophers.
Illinois improved their all time record versus Minnesota to 22-2 and host the No. 69-ranked Iowa Hawkeyes tomorrow, April 5, at 12 p.m. CT at the Atkins Tennis Center. Livescoring will be available at fightingillini.com.
Order of Finish (5,4,2,3,1,6)
Order of Finish: 2,1,3