The Illini will face No. 10 Nebraska on Friday at 5 p.m. CT and Iowa on Sunday at Noon.
March 7, 2013
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The Fighting Illini women's tennis team (6-5, 0-1 Big Ten) will continue its four-match road stint with a Big Ten battle against No. 10 Nebraska (12-1, 2-0) on Friday at 5 p.m. CT in Lincoln, Neb., and a showdown with Iowa (5-4, 0-1) on Sunday at Noon in Iowa City.
Illinois is 1-2 all-time against Nebraska after winning a 4-3 contest last year at the Atkins Tennis Center. The Illini boast a 26-23 record against Iowa, capturing a 6-1 victory over the Hawkeyes last season at home to claim their sixth straight win in the series.
SCOUTING THE OPPONENTS
Nebraska posted 7-0 victories in each of its last three matches, taking down Iowa earlier this week for its second Big Ten win of the season. The Cornhuskers are on an eight-match winning streak after suffering their lone loss to then-No. 10 Miami on Feb. 8. The squad boasts the 13th-ranked duo in the nation, Patricia Veresova and Mary Weatherholt. Weatherholt also is ranked in singles, checking in at No. 16.
The Hawkeyes have lost two of their last three contests, including their 7-0 loss to Nebraska on Tuesday to open Big Ten play. Their roster features one ranked doubles team, No. 42 Ruth Seaborne and Morven McCulloch. Iowa will host Northwestern on Friday before welcoming the Illini on Sunday.
CAMPBELL/ITA NATIONAL RANKINGS
The Illini dropped three spots to No. 37 in this week's national team rankings after falling to then-No. 8 Northwestern last Saturday. Senior Rachael White and sophomore Melissa Kopinski are ranked No. 22 in the latest doubles rankings, which were released on Feb. 26, while in singles, Kopinski checks in at No. 120.
LAST TIME OUT
The Fighting Illini women's tennis team suffered a 5-2 loss to then-No. 8 Northwestern last Saturday at the Combe Tennis Center, ending the Orange and Blue's four-match winning streak. Sophomore Melissa Kopinski knocked off a nationally ranked opponent at the top spot, while junior Allison Falkin extended her streak to five singles wins.
DECIDING BY DOUBLES
The Illini are a perfect 6-0 when winning the doubles point and are 0-5 when losing in doubles. Illinois won four straight doubles decisions from Feb. 2-24, never losing a dual match or the doubles point throughout the entire month of February.
Fighting Illini women's tennis head coach Michelle Dasso announced on Feb. 13 the addition of two assistant coaches to her staff. Mark Denenfeld and Kelly Anderson will aid Illinois for the remainder of its 2013 campaign.
Denenfeld played at Kalamazoo College from 2009-12 and earned all-Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association honors in three of his four years. Anderson wrapped up a stellar four-year playing career at Georgia Tech in 2006. The South Africa native was named ACC Rookie of the Year in 2003 and garnered all-ACC honors in 2004. She reached as high as No. 135 in the world doubles rankings in 2008. Anderson recently earned an MBA from Campbellsville University, where she served as the assistant coach for both the men's and women's tennis teams.
Seventeen of Illinois' 22 regular season opponents were nationally ranked to start the season, and six were in the top 25. Nine other Big Ten teams cracked the initial rankings, including then-No. 13 Northwestern, No. 16 Michigan, No. 17 Nebraska, No. 27 Purdue, No. 41 Minnesota, No. 49 Indiana, No. 50 Penn State, No. 57 Ohio State and No. 75 Wisconsin. Illinois' five losses have come to teams in the top 25.
The Orange and Blue will take a week off before heading west to take on Oklahoma State on Tuesday, March 19 at 2 p.m. CT in San Diego, Calif.