Illini Head to Michigan State, Michigan This Weekend
April 2, 2014
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The Fighting Illini women's tennis team (10-6, 3-2 Big Ten) will hit the road for a pair of Big Ten contests this weekend, taking on Michigan State (15-4, 3-2) on Saturday at 11 a.m. CT in East Lansing, and Michigan (13-3, 5-0) on Sunday at 11 a.m. in Ann Arbor.
Illinois is 31-10 all-time against Michigan State and has won the last eight matches with the Spartans. The Orange and Blue notched a 4-1 win over MSU during last season's Big Ten Championships in Bloomington, Ind.
The Illini have struggled against Michigan recently, having last won in their 11-28 all-time series in 2004. The Illini last played the Wolverines during the 2013 regular season, where they lost to the No. 8 team 1-6.
SCOUTING THE OPPONENTS
Michigan State is coming off of two back-to-back Big Ten wins against Iowa and Nebraska. Both wins were 4-3 and on the road. The Spartans only have two losses this season, in-state rival Michigan, and Ohio State.
Michigan is 5-0 in Big Ten play this season, coming off of big wins last weekend over Iowa and Nebraska. The No. 17 Wolverines swept both teams. Michigan boasts four nationally ranked singles players, topped by Emina Bektas at No. 9. Ronit Yurovsky is ranked No. 25, Brooke Bolender is No. 119, and Sarah Lee is No. 123. The team also has three ranked doubles teams, starting with Brooke Bolender and Emina Bektas at No. 18. They are followed by Ronit Yurovsky and Sarah Lee at No. 34, Ronti Yurovsky and Laura Ucros at No. 47, and Sarah Lee and Amy Zhu at No. 66.
CAMPBELL/ITA NATIONAL RANKINGS
Illinois jumped in the rankings to No. 34, with no singles or doubles rankings. In the regional rankings, Melissa Kopinski is No. 10 in the Midwest singles, followed by Allison Falkin and Alexis Casati at No. 14 and No. 15 respectively. Kopinski/Casati are the only doubles team for Illinois in the rankings, holding steady at No. 10 in Midwest.
LAST TIME OUT
The Illini went 2-0 this past weekend, beating both Penn State and Ohio State at the Atkins Tennis Center. Illinois nearly swept the Nittany Lions Saturday afternoon, going 6-1 for the win. The Orange and Blue welcomed Ohio State on Sunday morning and beat the Buckeyes in a tight 4-3 match.
Twelve of Illinois' regular season opponents were nationally ranked to start the season, and five were in the top 25. Illinois sits at No. 44 and seven other Big Ten teams crack the rankings, including No. 11 Michigan, No. 15 Northwestern, No. 25 Nebraska, No. 27 Purdue, No. 40 Indiana, No. 49 Penn State, and No. 72 Ohio State.
The Orange and Blue will return to action next weekend to host Iowa and Nebraska on April 12 and 13, respectively, at noon CT.