Junior Momei Qu and the Illini open the season on the road against Marquette.
Jan. 19, 2007
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The Illinois women's tennis team is set to open the dual match season on the road as they head to Milwaukee, Wis., to take on Marquette on Saturday, Jan. 20, at 11 a.m. at the Helfaer Tennis Stadium. The Fighting Illini boast a youthful squad opposite a veteran Golden Eagles team that brings seven upperclassmen to the table. However, the Orange and Blue will use a strong fall season as the base of their confidence as they head into the 2007 season opener.
"We are all extremely anxious to kick off the dual match season this weekend," head coach Michelle Dasso said. "This is what we've been working for all year, and I know the team is anxious to compete against an opponent other than themselves. Our goal is to start the season on a high note and play with a lot of enthusiasm and energy."
A full recap of Illinois' match at Marquette will be available at the conclusion of action at www.fightingillini.com.
STATE OF THE ILLINI
The Fighting Illini are hitting the courts for the first time since the Notre Dame Invitational (11/13). The Illinois women's tennis team closed out the final day of the Eck Classic hosted by the Irish with junior Momei Qu's 3-0 singles record headlining the Orange and Blue's results. Sophomore Shivani Davé ousted Ashley Moccia of Western Michigan, 6-4, 6-1, while freshman Megan Fudge rebounded from her loss on Saturday, taking down Petra Rehusova of DePaul, 6-0, 6-1, to close out a successful final day at the Classic.
The Atkins Tennis Center has been an imposing venue for opponents since it opened 13 years ago. Over those years, the Illini have boasted a 108-44 overall record at home for a 72 percent winning percentage. Since 2000, the Illini are 7-0 in season openers, dropping a total of seven total matches in that span. Head coach Michelle Dasso, who becomes the seventh Illinois head coach since the program began in 1975 with Peggy Pruit, will embark on a new era in 2007, and seek to continue the success Illinois has had in season debuts.
ILLINOIS VS. MARQUETTE HISTORY
This is the eighth meeting between the Marquette Golden Eagles and the Fighting Illini. Illinois leads the series 6-1, with the first meeting between the squads coming in 1988. The is the second straight year the Illini have opened the season against the Golden Eagles, last year cruising to a 6-1 victory at the Atkins Tennis Center in Urbana, Ill.
The Marquette Golden Eagles are led by a slue of upperclassmen, including seniors Francina Bonnelly, Andrea Bukacek, Dominika Dabrowski and Kathleen Donovan, who will provide leadership for the team in 2007. The seniors join three juniors returning from last season, along with three newcomers and one transfer. Despite having a talented and experience senior class, the Golden Eagles have had the best success come off the racquet of freshman Kylie Moore and junior Erin Watkins, who each battled their way into the main draw of the Wilson/ITA Midwest Regional Championship in late October. The two fell in the first round of the championship, but have proved to be two of the top netters for Marquette heading into the 2007 spring campaign.