Freshman Audrey O'Connor won two doubles matches and one singles contest Friday in her Illini debut.
Oct. 5, 2012
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Three members of the Fighting Illini women's tennis team opened play Friday at the U.S. Air Force Tennis Invitational. Freshman Audrey O'Connor made her Illini debut, going 1-0 in singles and 2-0 in doubles alongside sophomore Julia Jamieson.
"Today was a day of tough conditions and elements for Julia and Audrey as they played their singles matches in bitter cold temperatures," head coach Michelle Dasso said. "Anytime you see your players placed in that type of situation, you quickly learn what type of competitor the athlete is and how driven they are to succeed. Both Julia and Audrey impressed me greatly, not necessarily with the quality of tennis played but with their minds, toughness and spirit."
Jamieson and O'Connor started the day with an 8-4 win over Colorado's Winde Janssens and Ashley Tiefel. The Orange and Blue duo added to their success with an 8-4 victory over Washington State's Andjela Kankaras and Elizaveta Luzina to advance to the semifinals of the Bravo Flight.
"Julia and Audrey have the potential to be an extremely athletic doubles tandem with the ability to play doubles the way it really should be played," Dasso said. "I will continue to harp on them daily to use their athleticism as much as possible."
In singles, Jamieson captured a 6-3, 2-6, 11-9 victory over Stephanie Catlin of Northern Colorado, while O'Connor picked up her first singles win in an Illini uniform, taking a 3-6, 7-6, 10-8 thriller over Northern Colorado's Chrissie Hoolahan. Junior Misia Kedzierski forced a super tiebreaker in her opening contest but was unable to pull off the victory.
"Misia unfortunately dug herself an early hole in singles," Dasso said. "But I was happy with her ability to make some necessary changes and turn things around in the second set."
In the Charlie Flight in doubles, Kedzierski paired up with WSU's Erin Troedson in a pair of exhibition matches, taking down Christa Gecheva and Alma Espinosa, 8-4. The tandem came up just short in second-round action, falling in a 9-8(3) battle with Charlotte Koning and Lize Leenknecht (WSU).
Meanwhile, senior Rachael White and sophomore Melissa Kopinski ended their run at the Riviera/ITA All-American Championships in Pacific Palisades, Calif., with an 8-4 loss to the nation's top-ranked duo, Sabrina Santamaria and Kaitlyn Christian of USC.
Throughout their run to the quarterfinals, the pair took down four nationally ranked opponents, including two top-10 tandems, before falling short to the No. 1 team in the country.
Kedzierski, Jamieson and O'Connor will return to action tomorrow morning for day two of the Air Force Invite.
Air Force Invitational
Julia Jamieson/Audrey O'Connor (ILL) def. Winde Janssens/Ashley Tiefel (CU) 8-4
Misia Kedzierski (ILL)/Erin Troedson(WSU) def. Christa Gecheva/Alma Espinosa (WYO) 8-4
Julia Jamieson/Audrey O'Connor (ILL) def. Andjela Kankaras/Elizaveta Luzina (WSU) 8-4
Charlotte Koning/Lize Leenknecht (WSU) def. Misia Kedzierski (ILL)/Erin Troedson(WSU) 9-8(3)
Riviera/ITA All-American Championships
#1 Sabrina Santamaria/Kaitlyn Christian (USC) def. Melissa Kopinski/Rachael White (ILL) 8-5