Illinois hosts Illinois State and Iowa this week at Atkins Tennis Center.
April 4, 2011
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The Illini women's tennis team (6-8, 3-1 Big Ten) will face a trio of opponents this week beginning with a pair of home matches against in-state rival Illinois State (5-7) on Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. and Iowa (5-10, 2-2) on Friday at 3 p.m. at Atkins Tennis Center. The squad will close out the weekend on the road at No. 18 Northwestern (11-5, 4-0) on Sunday at 11 a.m.
Illinois has claimed its last 25 matches against Illinois State dating back to 1981, though this will be the first meeting between the two programs since 2009. Illinois leads the all-time series, 27-8. Against Iowa, the Illini have won three straight to tie the all-time series record at 23 apiece, while versus Northwestern, the Wildcats lead the all-time series 42-8, with Illinois' last win coming on April 4, 2004.
CAMPBELL/ITA NATIONAL RANKINGS
New team rankings will be released Tuesday afternoon. In individual rankings released last week, sophomore Rachael White came in at No. 96 in singles and No. 20 in doubles with freshman Allison Falkin. Junior Chelcie Abajian and sophomore Breanne Smutko also were ranked in doubles at No. 67.
SCOUTING THE OPPONENTS
Illinois State and Iowa have each captured five wins on the year though both are coming off losses last weekend. The Redbirds were shutout by Marquette in action last Sunday, but had won four of their previous six matches heading into the contest, with wins over Eastern Illinois, Coe, Detroit-Mercy and Bradley. Gabby Phillips leads the team with 12 wins, followed by Carolina Abello and Ariane Maack with 11 each.
The Illini were victorious over Iowa earlier this season at the ITA Kick-Off Weekend, as they won 5-2 behind wins from White, Abajian, Falkin and senior Marisa Lambropoulos, who has been forced to redshirt the season with a wrist injury. The Hawkeyes also played to two 4-3 decisions last weekend against Purdue and Indiana, as they topped Indiana but fell to Purdue. Iowa also split with Penn State and Ohio State, earning a 5-2 win over the Nittany Lions. Sonja Molnar is the lone ranked Hawkeye in singles, checking in at No. 101, while in doubles she is ranked No. 46 with Jessica Young.
Northwestern improved to 4-0 in the Big Ten with a 7-0 victory over Penn State on Sunday for its sixth straight win and third shutout during that span. Maria Mosolova, ranked 16th in the country, is 12-0 at the No. 1 spot, while No. 74 Belinda Niu also boasts 12 wins including six at No. 3 singles, and No. 92 Kate Turvy has recorded 10 of her own. In doubles, Linda Abu Mushrefova and Nida Hamilton have claimed a team-best 12 wins and check in at No. 7 in the national rankings.¬¬
LAST TIME OUT
Illinois collected a pair of 4-3 victories over Big Ten foes Purdue and Indiana last weekend. Juniors Chelcie Abajian and Amy Allin each recorded match-clinching victories for the Illini.
Against Purdue, Illinois got off to a solid start in doubles, as it swept all three matches by a score of 8-6 to take a 1-0 advantage over the Boilermakers. In singles, Allin swiftly defeated Jennifer Rabot, 6-1, 6-3, before Purdue evened the score with wins at the Nos. 4 and 6 spots. No. 96 sophomore Rachael White downed Bhavani Tirumurti, 7-6 (3), 7-5, and a Boilermaker win at the No. 5 spot notched the score at three, but Abajian held on in the final match of the day to defeat Anna Dushkina, 6-1, 6-7 (7), 6-3.
Against Indiana, Illinois secured the doubles point for the second straight match and big wins in singles from Allin and freshmen Allison Falkin and Misia Kedzierski propelled the Orange and Blue to victory. Allin currently leads the team with 18 wins, followed by Falkin with 13 and White with 12.