Fighting Illini Bounce Back with 4-3 Win Over Penn State
April 6, 2008
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The University of Illinois women's tennis team snapped a two-match conference losing streak as it outlasted the Penn State Nittany Lions, 4-3, in University Park at the Sarni Tennis Center today. The Illini (8-8, 4-2 Big Ten) avenged last season's loss by the same score to the Lions (7-10, 1-5 Big Ten) and have now won four conference matches for the first time since 2004, when the Illini went 8-3 in league contests.
"No. 3 Doubles was huge for us today, as well as all weekend," head coach Michelle Dasso said about the victory. "They battled and were the clinching point for us in doubles, which gave us the momentum we needed. Then at No. 3 singles, the freshman Marisa Lambropoulos was just great in her match, as she took on a tough Penn State player, but came out on top to clinch the match. I am just really proud of how our team overcame adversity and was able to pick up a key win on the road in Big Ten play."
The Illini started off the day by winning the doubles point, which has been a challenge for UI all season long. The Orange and Blue accomplished the feat by first taking a victory at No. 2 doubles when redshirt freshman Leigh Finnegan and freshman Marisa Lambropoulos (ILL) downed Leyla Morzan and Lauren McCarthy (PSU), 8-2. Penn State rebounded with a win on court one, but it was not enough as Illinois clinched the doubles point when sophomore Kristina Minor and freshman Annie McCarthy (ILL) registered an 8-6 win over Katelyn BeVard and Dorothy Dohanics (PSU) on court three.
From there, due to court limitations, Illinois opened the singles portion of the afternoon with matches at 1-4 first on court, while Nos. 5-6 waited for the next available court.
Looking to pad a 1-0 lead, sophomore Megan Fudge (ILL) showed a lot of heart in her straight sets win at No. 1 singles (6-4, 6-0) despite battling a sore back. Finnegan then followed the win with a victory at No. 2 singles, clawing her way back from a 5-2 deficit in the first set to win the contest in straights (7-6(1), 6-2). Then, for the first time this season, Lambropoulos (ILL) put the match away for good when she upended Jenny Shular (PSU) 7-6(6), 6-2.
With the match already decided, Penn State was able to manage wins at the remaining singles matches to make the final score, 4-3, in Illinois favor.
After traveling to Michigan and Pennsylvania, Illinois now travels to Bloomington, Ind., where they will face Indiana on Saturday, April 12, before traveling to Columbus, Ohio, to take on Ohio State on Sunday, April 13. Illinois does not return home until April 19-20, when it hosts Senior Weekend for seniors Momei Qu and Alejandra Meza Cuadra, with Minnesota (April 19) and Iowa (April 20) both in town for the match festivities.
#62 UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS 4, PENN STATE UNIVERSITY 3