March 18, 2013
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The Fighting Illini women's tennis team (6-7) will head to San Diego this week to take on Oklahoma State (7-3) on Tuesday at 2 p.m. CT at the Del Mar Country Club. The match will wrap up Illinois' non-conference schedule and will end a four-match road stint for the Orange and Blue.
Illinois is 0-4 all-time against Oklahoma State and has not faced the Cowgirls since Jan. 26, 1990. The Illini suffered 9-0 losses in each of the four meetings between the two teams.
SCOUTING THE COWGIRLS
Oklahoma State is ranked 26th in the latest ITA rankings, which were released March 12, and is coming off a 6-1 loss to Texas on March 17. The squad features one ranked singles player, No. 83 Malika Rose.
CAMPBELL/ITA NATIONAL RANKINGS
The Illini dropped 12 spots to No. 49 in last Tuesday's national team rankings after falling to then-No. 10 Nebraska on March 8 and Iowa on March 10. Senior Rachael White and sophomore Melissa Kopinski are ranked No. 17 in the latest doubles rankings, while in singles, Kopinski checks in at No. 109.
LAST TIME OUT
Despite capturing the doubles point, the Illini dropped a 5-2 decision at Iowa on March 10, marking Illinois' third straight loss. Senior Breanne Smutko was the lone Orange and Blue singles winner after starting the day with a convincing victory alongside freshman Audrey O'Connor in doubles.
DECIDING BY DOUBLES
The Illini are 6-1 when winning the doubles point and are 0-6 when losing in doubles. The Orange and Blue won four straight doubles decisions from Feb. 2-24, never losing a dual match or a 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.
The Orange and Blue will have the weekend off before returning to the Atkins Tennis Center March 29 and 31 for Big Ten matches with Wisconsin (4 p.m.) and Minnesota (11 a.m.), respectively.