Senior captain Brianna Knue
In 2005 head coach Sujay Lama and Illinois hosted Mike Patrick's Volunteers, two days after falling to then-30th ranked Wake Forest. Having secured the doubles point against the Vols, four of six Illini won their initial sets. From there the home team had to endure three three-set matches, ultimately losing 4-3.
One year later, the Illini look to sustain their efforts throughout, playing a Volunteer squad that resembles the previous version. Situated one spot below last season's 18th-place ranking, Tennessee's roster returns four of six singles participants, none of whom are ranked.
"Last year was last year. This year is this year," Lama said. "My job is to make sure that we compete the way we did against Western Michigan. If we can be like that every match, teams are going to have a tough time beating us. I want to see consistency in the way we compete. After (last) Sunday, I know we are capable."
If Patrick's lineup remains unchanged from the team's two previous spring 2006 dual matches, Melissa Schaub and Samantha Orlin, Intercollegiate Tennis Association's 38th-ranked tandem will face Illinois' Brianna Knue and Macall Harkins at No. 1 doubles. Volunteer sophomore Bryce Marable and junior Blakeley Griffith sit at No. 28 in the ITA standings but have not played together in either of the team's dual matches against No. 14 Duke and 11th-ranked North Carolina.
The top-20 Atlantic Coast Conference squads are two of nine top-25 teams Tennessee encounters this season. Six top-25 teams are in its own Southeastern Conference. By contrast ITA includes seven Big Ten teams but only one is within the first 30. Illinois and Tennessee share seven common opponents, thanks to a Volunteer schedule that features five Big Ten competitors. An Illinois victory on Saturday would be the school's first victory in the all-time series that dates back to the 1986-1987 season.