Illini Finish Midwest Blast with Top Singles, Doubles Records
Nov. 3, 2013
URBANA, Ill. - The Illinois women's tennis team ended the Midwest Blast, hosted by Illinois at the Atkins Tennis Center, with the tournament's best records in both singles and doubles play. The Illini ended the tournament 7-2 in doubles play and 12-7 in singles. Every available player on the team picked up a win in both singles and doubles play. Purdue, Missouri and Wake Forest also competed at the tournament.
"I think our team showed a ton of character," head coach Michelle Dasso said. "Overall, each individual impressed me this weekend. We need to bring that same consistency, effort and attitude every day, and we'll be ready for the spring season."
On Sunday, the Illini took on the top-ranked team at the tournament, Purdue, in six singles matches and split with the Boilermakers. Allison Falkin came from a set down to take a 2-6, 6-2, 6-2 win over a ranked opponent, No. 125 Mara Schmidt. Two freshmen also took home singles wins; Jerricka Boone picked up her second singles win in three matches at the Blast with a 6-4, 7-6 (6) win at No. 4 singles, and Alexis Casati did the same, taking down Purdue junior Daniela Vidal 7-5, 6-7 (5), 6-1 with a dominating third-set performance.
"I was particularly impressed with the freshmen," Dasso said. "Alexis (Casati) was out there battling to the end with an older player who has a lot more experience, and Alexis came through with a win. Louise and Jerricka both played well and picked up a couple singles wins and also helped our doubles."
A third freshman, Louise Kwong, teamed with Julia Jamieson to go 3-0 in doubles during the tournament. Kwong improved to a team-best 6-1 in doubles play this fall. Kopinski teamed with Casati to also go 3-0 on the weekend.
Melissa Kopinski pulled off the biggest singles win of the tournament on Saturday with a straight-sets win over No. 72 Cierra Gaytan-Leach of Missouri, the highest ranked player in the tournament. Kopinski, Falkin, Casati, Boone and Kwong all went 2-1 in singles play at the Blast.
Illinois' 7-2 doubles record was the best at the tournament, edging out Purdue, who ended with a 7-3 record. The Illini won two of three doubles matches against Purdue. In singles, the Illini posted a 12-7 record; the only other team with a winning record in singles was Wake Forest, who finished 10-9.
UP NEXT: The fall season is over for Kopinski, Falkin, Casati, Misia Kedzierski and Audrey O'Connor. Kwong, Boone, Emily Barretta and Jamieson will compete in the Harvard Invitational Nov. 8-10 in Boston, Mass.