Brianna Knue and the Fighting Illini finished the fall season strong at the Midwest Blast.
Nov. 6, 2005
URBANA, Ill. -
The Illinois women's tennis team wrapped up its fall schedule with final rounds of the Midwest Blast Tournament at the Atkins Tennis Center. The Orange and Blue competed well, winning 7-of-11 doubles matches and posting a 12-10 singles record. Coach Sujay Lama sees both successes to build upon and opportunities for improvement.
"I think we accomplished a lot over the weekend," Lama said. "We got a lot of matches in. As far as the performances. I was pleased with some players while others have a little work to do. The good thing is everybody competed well and they all have improved significantly from the time we started. The whole team has definitely improved considerably in all phases of the game; conditioning, mental toughness, tactics and technique."
Illini captain Brianna Knue was a big story for the Fighting Illini over the weekend. She capped off a perfect tournament today with a win in both singles and doubles. She went 3-0 in both during the Friday-Sunday event. She and sophomore Macall Harkins combined to dispatch Luaren Connelly and Cristina Stastny of Notre Dame, 8-6, this morning. In the afternoon, the senior from Western Springs, Ill., beat Bianca Gorbea of Louisville, 6-2, 2-6, 7-5.
Coach Lama praised Knue's 7-2 fall record against top competition.
"It is not a fluke she is having a tremendous season. She had the best fall by far. She puts in 100 percent in everything she is doing; from conditioning to lessons to tactics to stretching. Her attention to detail is amazing. I told the kids in the locker room after the match, if she can do it I know everyone can get that much better. I'm not talking about winning, I'm talking about performance goals. I'm really happy for her because she is a tremendous leader and a tremendous role model for the team."
In other tournament competition, Momei Qu and Emily Wang faced the tournament's only ranked doubles team, No. 60 Brook Buck and Kelcy Tefft of Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish duo downed Illinois' tandem, 8-1. Shivani Davé and Alejandra Meza Cuadra lost 8-4 to Kelly Nelson and Katie Potts of Notre Dame.
The Illini faced Louisville in singles on Sunday and went 3-4 against the Cardinals.
"The most important part of the school year is coming with the off-season. We can't just keep a status quo - we have to make a similar jump like we did from August to now. We have to have a similar jump form November to January in order to have a good season. The kids realize that and they are excited about the off-season. They have a chance to really improve."
The Illini open the dual-match season against Marquette at the Atkins Tennis Center on January 21.
Here are Sunday's Midwest Blast results:
Sunday, November 6, 2005
9 a.m. - Doubles: Illinois vs. Notre Dame; Louisville vs. Wisconsin Brianna Knue/Macall Harkins (ILL) def. Lauren Connelly/Cristina Stasny (ND) 8-6 Kelly Nelson/Katie Potts (ND) def. Shivani Dave/Alejandra Cuadra (ILL) 8-4 No. 60 Brook Buck /Kelcy Tefft (ND) def. Momei Qu/Emily Wang (ILL) 8-1 Maria Klokotzky/Robyn White (LOU) def. Elizabeth Carpenter/Nicole Beck (WIS) 8-5 Suzanna Gracanin/Natalie Laszkowski (LOU) vs. Kaylan Caiati /Morgan Tuttle (WIS) 8-4 Natalia Baez/Stephania Velazquez (LOU) def. Chelsea Nusslock/Ali Salomone (WIS) 8-1
Extra doubles matches Liz Donahue/Bailey Louderback (ND) vs. Erin Jobe/Lexi Goldin (WIS) 8-3
10 a.m. - Singles: Illinois vs. Louisville Maria Klokotzky (LOU) def. Macall Harkins (ILL) 7-6(3), 7-6(2) Momei Qu (ILL) def. Robyn White (LOU) 6-4, 6-1 Brianna Knue def. Bianca Gorbea (LOU) 6-2, 2-6, 7-5 Suzanna Gracanin (LOU) def. Emily Wang (ILL) 2-6, 6-4, 6-2 Natalie Laszkowski (LOU) def. Alejandra Meza Cuadra (ILL) 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 Shivani Davé (ILL) def. Stephania Velazquez (LOU) 6-1, 6-0
Extra Singles Matches Natalia Baez (LOU) def. Pavlina Akritas (ILL) 6-2, 5-7, 7-6(5) Lexi Goldin (WIS) def. Bailey Louderback (ND) 6-2, 6-2
11:30 a.m. - Singles: Notre Dame vs. Wisconsin 1. Kelcy Tefft (ND) def. Kaylan Caiati (WIS) 6-1, 6-0 2. No. 54 Brook Buck (ND) def. Nicole Beck (WIS) 6-3, 6-1 3. Cristina Stastny (ND) def. Chelsea Nusslock (WIS) 6-2, 6-1 4. Lauren Connelly (ND) def. Ali Salomone (WIS) 6-4, 6-0 5. Katie Potts (ND) def. Elizabeth Carpenter (WIS) 6-1, 6-3 6. Kelly Nelson (ND) def. Erin Jobe (WIS) 7-6(6), 6-3