Illinois will head to Atlanta for the 2011 ITA Kick-Off Weekend.
Jan. 27, 2011
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The No. 25 Illini women's tennis team (0-2) looks to bounce back this weekend at the third annual Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Kick-Off Weekend hosted by Georgia Tech, Jan. 29-30. Illinois is the second seed and will face No. 3-seed South Florida (0-0) at 9 a.m. CT on Saturday, followed by top-seeded Georgia Tech (1-0) and fourth-seeded Iowa (1-0).
Live scoring will be available HERE.
WHAT'S AT STAKE
The ITA Kick-Off Weekend event features 60 teams battling for the final 15 spots in the 2011 ITA National Team Indoor Championships, Feb. 18-21 at the Boar's Head Sports Club in Charlottesville, Va. The 15 schools that win both of their matches will receive invitations, while this year's host, the University of Virginia, received an automatic bid into the Sweet 16. The top 15 nationally ranked teams in the final 2010 team rankings were chosen as host sites, including Stanford, Florida, North Carolina, Baylor, Notre Dame, UCLA, Northwestern, Michigan, Duke, Miami (FL), Clemson, California, Tennessee, Florida State and Georgia Tech.
LAST TIME OUT
In a tough opening stretch of dual matches, the Illini came up short against No. 4 Notre Dame, 5-2, and No. 13 Tennessee, 4-3, last weekend at Atkins Tennis Center. Junior Amy Allin led the squad with singles victories over No. 78 Chrissie McGaffigan (Notre Dame), 6-2, 6-2, and No. 116 Maria Sorbello (Tennessee), 6-4, 6-4, to collect her fifth and sixth straight wins and bring her team-best total to 10 victories on the year. In doubles, junior Chelcie Abajian and sophomore Breanne Smutko extended their winning streak to five and improved to 8-2 with a pair of wins on the weekend.
CAMPBELL/ITA NATIONAL TEAM RANKINGS
Despite the losses, the Illini remained at No. 25 in the latest Campbell/ITA national rankings released Tuesday, as did South Florida at No. 28 and Iowa at No. 30, while Georgia Tech moved up three spots to No. 13.
South Florida will be making its dual-season debut against Illinois and has not competed since the Florida Gulf Coast Invitational two weeks ago. The Bulls are coming off a 12-8 season in 2010 and a second-round appearance at the NCAA Championships. South Florida is led by 24th-ranked Irene Rehberger, who remained in the top 50 all of last season and tallied 20 wins on the year. She is ranked 45th in doubles with Ecaterina Vasenina, while Janette Bejlkova and Loreta Alonso Martinez checked in at No. 25.
Georgia Tech is coming off a season-opening win over then-No. 9 Northwestern, 5-2, last Sunday in Atlanta. The Jackets finished 19-10 for the 2010 campaign and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Championships with a first-round win over Austin Peay. Jillian O'Neill made the lone appearance in the singles rankings at No. 39, while in doubles, Lynn Blau and Elizabeth Kilborn checked in at No. 36, followed by Caroline Lilley and Sasha Krupina at No. 66.
Rounding out the group is Iowa, which provided the Illini their lone win over a top-25 opponent last season. The Hawkeyes knocked off Northern Iowa, 6-1, to open the dual season last Saturday and opened the spring season at the FSU Seminole Invitational earlier this month. Sonja Molnar is the lone Hawkeye in the singles rankings at No. 70, and also made an appearance in doubles at No. 55 with Lynne Poggensee-Wei.
UP NEXT FOR THE ILLINI
The Illini return home next Friday, Feb. 4 to take on DePaul at 2 p.m. at Atkins Tennis Center.