Illini Set to Play for Regional Doubles Title
Oct. 24, 2010
ANN ARBOR, Mich. - For the fourth time in nine years, an Illini doubles team will be playing for the USTA/ITA Midwest Regional Championships doubles title, as sophomore Rachael White and freshman Allison Falkin captured two wins Sunday to advance to Monday's championship match. The duo will take on a familiar foe in Northwestern's Linda Abu Mushrefova and Nida Hamilton, making the matchup quite similar to years past.
Illinois and Northwestern faced off for the regional doubles title three straight times from 2002-04, with Illini Michelle Webb and Jennifer McGaffigan taking the crown in 2002 for the first and only time in program history. The last Illini tandem to reach the finals was Macall Harkins and Brianna Knue in 2004.
In this morning's quarterfinal match, White and Falkin edged past Michigan's Denise Muresan and Kari Wig, 9-8 (3), before taking down Ohio State's Kelsey Haviland and Gabby Steele, 8-6, in the semifinals. With four wins thus far at the tournament, White and Falkin are now 5-2 for the fall.
"We played together at Duke earlier in the year and I think that really helped us for this tournament," White said. "We've stepped up our aggressiveness and were able to hold our serves. Allison is doing a great job of being aggressive at the net."
Illinois assistant coach Georgia Rose is no stranger to regional championships success, as the former Northwestern standout won the singles title in 2007 and advanced to the doubles final twice in 2006 and 2007.
"It's been a lot of fun to watch them this weekend," Rose said. "They're competing well, especially being so young, and have handled close sets well. Their communication has improved and they've figured out how they want to play together. We knew their strengths would complement each other well and Rachael has really stepped up big time. I'm really proud of them."
Live scoring and video will be available HERE.