The Illini will head to the East Coast to face South Carolina and College of Charleston.
March 23, 2010
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The No. 39 Illini women's tennis team (7-6) will close out the non-conference portion of its schedule this week, as it travels to No. 20 South Carolina (9-4) for a match on Wednesday, March 24 at 1 p.m. CT, before heading to College of Charleston (13-8) on Friday at 1:30 p.m. CT. It will be Illinois' first-ever meetings with the two teams.
"We face two more talented non-conference opponents over our spring break and we are prepared to lay it on the line and battle as always," head coach Michelle Dasso said. "Our challenging non-conference schedule is going to help us in the long run and make us an even stronger team. In order to be the best, you have to play the best and our team is not afraid of any challenge."
LAST TIME OUT
Playing under the lights for the first time at Khan Outdoor Tennis Complex, the Illini captured their fourth straight win of the season and second consecutive in Big Ten play with a 5-2 victory over Wisconsin March 19. Sophomore Chelcie Abajian clinched the win with a straight sets defeat of Angela Chupa, 7-5, 6-2.
After sweeping all three doubles matches, junior Leigh Finnegan kept the momentum going for the Illini, as she knocked off Jessica Seyferth at the No. 3 spot for her sixth straight win of the season, 6-1, 6-4. Sophomore Amy Allin, who filled in for freshman Rachael White who was under the weather, followed with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Aleksandra Markovic and Abajian sealed the win moments later. No. 119 senior Megan Fudge tallied the final point for Illinois with her fourth straight win, a 6-3, 6-2 defeat of Katya Mirnova.
GAUGING THE GAMECOCKS
South Carolina has claimed eight of its last 10 matches, including a recent six-match winning streak that ended March 14 at Auburn. During that span, the Gamecocks knocked off a pair of top-20 opponents in then-No. 15 Arkansas and No. 20 South Florida, while reaching as high as 16 themselves earlier in the season. Each of South Carolina's four losses were by close 4-3 decisions to Michigan, Washington, Clemson and Auburn.
Miljana Jocic currently leads the team with an overall record of 21-4 and 10-1 in dual matches, while 92nd-ranked Ana Zubori has tallied 17 wins of her own and is 5-7 at No. 1 singles. The doubles tandem of Zubori and Dijana Stojic are currently ranked at No. 20 with an overall record of 11-4 and 8-4 in duals.
KEEPING UP WITH THE COUGARS
Despite winning its last three matches, College of Charleston dropped out of the latest national rankings this week after reaching a season-high No. 58 the previous week. Nine of the Cougars' 21 matches have been against ranked opponents, with wins over then-No. 62 Boston and No. 66 UNC-Greensboro.
Caroline Newman leads the team with 15 overall and dual wins, followed by Kinsey Casey with 11 and Emma Hayman with nine. Hayman and Holly Dowse checked in at No. 76 in doubles for the Cougars and boast a team-best 12-5 record.
The Illini return to Big Ten play on Sunday, April 4 to host No. 35 Purdue at the Khan Outdoor Tennis Complex at 10 a.m.