Freshman Momei Qu is on a roll; she won her sixth consecutive singles match in Illinois' 4-3 loss to Michigan Sunday afternoon.
April 10, 2005
The 53rd-ranked Illinois women's tennis team was unable to capitalize on its home-court advantage Sunday as it fell, 4-3, to No. 38 Michigan in a Big Ten match at the UI Atkins Tennis Center.
"This was a disappointing loss, but I'm proud of the way our team battled. We've now lost four 4-3 matches, but we've been in a position to win all of them," head coach Sujay Lama lamented.
Today's was the seventh 4-3 decision of the season for the Orange and Blue.
Macall Harkins and Brianna Knue won their 25th doubles match of the season, 8-2, but Cynthya Goulet and Emily Wang lost, 8-4, to Michelle DaCosta and Kara Delicata at No. 2. Freshman Momei Qu and junior Pavlina Akritas tallied two straight points after falling behind 6-3 to pull to within 6-5 at No. 3. The duo then pushed it to 6-6 and 6-7. Soon after, a ball dropped just in front of the wrong side of the net, and the Illini were in a 1-0 hole after losing the doubles point.
"No. 3 doubles, I thought, was the deciding match," Lama said. "We led, 40-15, in three of the last five games. We let those opportunities get away, and that was the key."
Qu won her No. 3 singles match against the Wolverines' Kara Delicata, 6-3, 6-0, for her sixth consecutive victory and 10 in her last 12 outings.
Goulet, ranked No. 41, needed a second-set tiebreaker to defeat the No. 53 DaCosta. Goulet's two triumphs this weekend leave her two short of her career-best 26 (last year), heading into Wednesday's 3:30 p.m. home match against Notre Dame. Today's win was her 17th in her last 18 contests.
"Cynthya and Macall are playing great tennis right now; it's fun to see how much they have improved, and it's the same way with Momei," Lama said.
Michigan's Elizabeth Exon, who lost to Goulet last fall in the ITA Midwest Regional, beat Harkins in the first set, 6-1, but the Illini freshman outplayed her opponent in the next two sets to win 1-6, 6-4, 6-3. "Macall's was a rivalry match of sorts; those two played a number of times as juniors (both are natives of Southern California). This win really boosted her confidence," Lama said.
Illinois' setback today takes its season record to 10-7 and its Big Ten mark to 4-2. Michigan improves to 9-9 overall and 4-3 in the conference. The Fighting Illini remain busy, as they entertain Notre Dame Wednesday, at 3:30 p.m., and travel to Wisconsin and second-ranked and conference-leading Northwestern on Saturday and Sunday, respectively, for 11 a.m. matches.
#38 Michigan 4 at #53 Illinois 3
DOUBLES: 1 Michelle DaCosta/Kara Delicata (MICH) def. Cynthya Goulet/Emily Wang (ILL) 8-4 2 Macall Harkins/Brianna Knue (ILL) def. Leanne Rutherford/Allie Shafner (MICH) 8-2 3 Elizabeth Exon/Debra Streifler (MICH) def. Pavlina Akritas/Momei Qu (ILL) 8-6
SINGLES: 1 #41 Cynthya Goulet (ILL) def. #53 Michelle DaCosta (MIC H) 6-1, 7-6 (7) 2 Macall Harkins (ILL) def. Elizabeth Exon (MICH) 1-6, 6-4, 6-3 3 Momei Qu (ILL) def. Kara Delicata (MICH) 6-3, 6-0 4 Leanne Rutherford (MICH) def. Brianna Knue (ILL) 6-1, 6-2 5 Debra Streifler (MICH) def. Emily Wang (ILL) 6-3, 6-1 6 Nina Yaftali (MICH) def. Pavlina Akritas (ILL) 6-4, 6-3