Senior Momei Qu and the Illini head to Florida for their third ranked matchup in-a-row against No. 22 Florida State.
Jan. 30, 2008
The University of Illinois women's tennis team looks to end a two-match skid when they travel to Tallahassee, Fla., to take on No. 21 Florida State on Sunday, Feb. 3, for a 10 a.m. CT, 11 a.m. local time, match against the Seminoles. The Illini are coming off a solid effort against No. 22 Tennessee, jumping out to quick leads in doubles before the Lady Volunteers rebounded to edge Illinois for the doubles point and secured five singles wins in a 6-1 victory.
"The weekend presents another great opportunity for us and the girls couldn't be more excited," head coach Michelle Dasso said. "We will bring Florida State everything we have and I know our January training trip to Florida is going to be incredibly useful for us since this match will be outside. The transition to outdoor tennis will not be half as difficult because we've already had prior training outside."
The Illini will use their prior experience in Florida to their advantage, but Dasso knows that their previous matches have all been in their hands to win or lose, so she is looking for a new look from her squad this weekend.
"We have been in control of winning the last three doubles points and let them slip away, so something needs to change," Dasso said. "We will be trying a few different combinations, but the biggest thing we need to do is change our mentality. We need to play to win and want the ball. I think all the girls know we are right there with each and every team we've played this year. Sometimes, all it takes is a few minor tweaks and the mindset to keep working hard and believing in each other."
Illinois' match against the Seminoles at the Speicher Center can be followed through live scoring on the Florida State athletic web site, www.seminoles.com, while a full recap will be available on fighingillini.com at the conclusion of the match.
STATE OF THE ILLINI
Illinois is currently 2-2 on the young season and has lost its last two matches heading into its contest against the Florida State Seminoles. To open the season, the Illini jumped out to a quick 2-0 record on the year after victories over Florida Atlantic (7-0) and Marquette (5-2). However, the Illini have faced two ranked opponents in-a-row in their last two outings in No.62 Western Michigan (4-3), who the Illini almost derailed, before their most recent road block against No. 22 Tennessee (6-1).
On the season, Illinois is led by the efforts of sophomore Megan Fudge at No. 1 singles, who is 11-5 on the year and 3-1 in dual action. In fact, before Fudge's loss in the top spot against No. 22 Tennessee, the Kaarst, Germany native was on a five-match winning streak, including taking down No. 98-ranked Kerstin Pahl of WMU.
ILLINOIS vs. FLORIDA STATE HISTORY
Florida State leads the all-time series between the two programs, 4-1, with their last meeting a 5-3 victory for the Seminoles during the 1999-2000 season, that coming in the first round of the NCAA Gainesville Regional. In that contest, both teams boasted a national ranking, with Illinois tabbed 34th and FSU rated 22nd.
The Illini and Seminoles started their series during 1991-92 campaign, with Illinois winning the first meeting 5-4 in Tallahassee. Since then, FSU has had Illinois' number, winning four straight. In other notable superlatives, this is the first time since 1998 that the two schools will not enter the match both ranked in the recent ITA polls, while every meeting between the two programs has taken place in the state of Florida, with this year no exception.
PREVIEWING THE SEMINOLES
Florida State is ranked No. 21 in the most recent ITA women's tennis poll released on Jan. 29. The Seminoles, who had their original season opener against cross-state foe Jacksonville rescheduled for Feb. 13 due to rain, will now be opening the 2008 campaign this weekend when they host Rice on Friday, Feb. 1 and the Illini on Sunday, Feb. 3.
The Seminoles jump into the spring season hoping to continue their momentum from last season's stellar 16-8 campaign (8-5 in the ACC), second-round NCAA Tournament appearance, while also achieving the highest ranking to date in program history at No. 13. The team was especially dominant at home during the 2006-07 season, going 9-1 at the Speicher Center.
The Seminoles boast a very young and talented squad that features only two seniors in No. 60 Carolin Walter and No. 74 Tapiwa Marobela. The duo is joined by junior Ania Rynarsewska and a large underclassmen contingent of sophomores Lauren Macfarlane and Jessica Wente, and freshmen Bonny Davidson, No. 16 Katie Rybakova and Federica Suess.
Illinois returns home after a two-match road swing to host DePaul on Friday, Feb. 8. The match will be the first for the Illini at the Atkins Tennis Center in almost a month since opening the season at home on Jan. 19. The match against the Blue Demons will begin at 6 p.m. CT., with live scoring available for all Fighting Illini home matches on fightingillini.com by clicking on the live scoring link on the women's tennis home page.