Melissa Kopinski ended her run at the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships on Friday, alongside partner Rachael White.
Nov. 9, 2012
FLUSHING, N.Y. - Fighting Illini senior Rachael White and sophomore Melissa Kopinski ended their run at USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships Friday with an 8-5 loss to Gabriella DeSimone and Zoe Scandalis of USC, marking the end of the fall season for the Orange and Blue.
"Prior to the tournament, we talked about treating this tourney in the same manner as any other fall tournament and reminding ourselves of the nature in which we played to get ourselves invited, both aggressively and decisively," head coach Michelle Dasso said. "Our arousal levels were a little higher than they needed to be, which is natural, but this was a valuable experience for the future. Rachael and Melissa certainly have a vision to be playing in NCAAs in May on our home courts and will work hard to make that a possibility."
White and Kopinski finish the fall with a team-leading 12 doubles wins, including five over ranked opponents. The tandem played its way to the national tournament by capturing the USTA/ITA Midwest Regional doubles title in mid-October, making them the first Illinois doubles team to earn a bid since Jennifer McGaffigan and Michelle Webb won the Midwest Regional doubles crown in 2002.
"Anytime you experience something of this nature, you are more prepared next time around," Dasso said. "I'm hoping Melissa took note and realized this is a tournament she is good enough to be playing at in both singles and doubles in the future. I also believe Rachael stepped up big in the leadership department this fall and strongly feel she will be the catalyst behind bringing this team together in the spring and setting the bar high."
The tournament marks Illinois' final competition of the fall season. The Illini will be back in action on Jan. 13 for their season opener at Miami.
Gabriella DeSimone/Zoe Scandalis (USC) def. Rachael White/Melissa Kopinski (Illinois) 8-5