The Illini will honor seniors Rachael White and Breanne Smutko on Sunday.
April 18, 2013
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The Fighting Illini women's tennis team (12-9, 5-4 Big Ten) will wrap up the regular season this weekend with a pair of Big Ten showdowns. Illinois will travel to Indiana on Friday to face the Hoosiers (17-6, 6-3) at 2 p.m. CT in Bloomington and will return to Urbana to host Purdue (15-3, 7-2) on Sunday at Noon at the Khan Outdoor Tennis Complex. The match against the Boilermakers will serve as Senior Day. The Illini will honor seniors Rachael White and Breanne Smutko prior to the contest.
The Illini have won their last four matches against the Hoosiers, including a 4-3 battle last year on Senior Day. Despite Illinois' recent success, Indiana leads the all-time series, 33-10.
Illinois is 28-27 all-time against Purdue after cruising to a 5-2 win in West Lafayette, Ind., last year. The Illini have won the last seven meetings between the two teams.
SCOUTING THE OPPONENTS
Indiana is 17-6 overall and 6-3 in the Big Ten heading into the weekend. The Hoosiers are ranked 34th in the nation and are fifth in the Big Ten standings after earning a 7-0 shutout against Wisconsin at home last weekend. The IU roster features two ranked singles players, No. 97 Katie Klyczek and No. 119 Leslie Hureau. Hureau also is ranked in doubles, checking in at No. 87 alongside Sophie Garre.
Purdue is 15-3 overall and 7-2 in the conference and has won its last three matches, including a 6-1 win over Minnesota last weekend at home. The Boilermakers are ranked 27th nationally and are tied for third in the Big Ten. The squad boasts one ranked duo, No. 27 Krisztina Kapitany and Mara Schmidt.
The Orange and Blue will honor seniors Rachael White and Breanne Smutko on Sunday. White, a 2011 first-team All-Big Ten honoree and 2011 co-Advantage Illinois Most Valuable Player of the Year, took home the USTA/ITA Midwest Regional doubles title alongside partner Melissa Kopinski last October and was one half of the first Illini doubles team to earn a bid to the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships since 2002. White also played her way to the doubles quarterfinals of the Riviera/ITA All-American Championships with Kopinski, and the pair started the 2013 dual season ranked 11th in the nation. White ranks fourth in career doubles wins at Illinois with 84.
Smutko, a two-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree, reached a career-high No. 27 in the national doubles rankings in 2012 alongside former Illini Chelcie Abajian. The Alpharetta, Ga., native led the team in doubles wins (24) in her freshman season and was named Player to Watch by her teammates that year.
CAMPBELL/ITA NATIONAL RANKINGS
The Illini jumped 12 spots to No. 47 in the latest national team rankings after a pair of 5-2 Big Ten victories last weekend. Senior Rachael White and sophomore Melissa Kopinski improved two spots to No. 25 in doubles. Kopinski also is ranked in singles, checking in at No. 109, while sophomore Allison Falkin is ranked No. 102.
BIG TEN STANDINGS
Illinois is sixth in the Big Ten standings with a 5-4 mark in conference play. Nebraska and Michigan (8-1) top the standings, followed by Purdue and Northwestern (7-2) in third, Indiana (6-3) in fifth, Illinois (5-4) in sixth, Penn State, Ohio State and Minnesota (3-6) in seventh, Iowa and Wisconsin (2-7) in 10th and Michigan State (0-9) in 12th.
LAST TIME OUT
Illinois notched its second 5-2 victory of the weekend last Sunday, taking down Penn State at the Sarni Tennis Center. The Illini captured their third straight doubles point and won four of six singles matches en route to their third consecutive dual win.
DECIDING BY DOUBLES
The Illini are 11-1 when winning the doubles point and are 1-8 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' 23 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 University of Illinois will host the NCAA Men's and Women's Tennis Championships for the first time in school history, May 16-27 at the Khan Outdoor Tennis Complex at the Atkins Tennis Center. The first six days of competition (May 16-21) will include the Round of 16 and beyond of the team championships, while the final six days (May 22-27) will feature the men's and women's 64-player singles and 32-player doubles championships.
All-session and single-day tickets are on sale now. Fans can purchase tickets by calling the Illinois Ticket Office at 866-Illini-1 or by visiting Fightingillini.com. Adult all-session tickets are $100, while youth (18 and under) all-session tickets are $75. Single-day tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for youth. Admission is free for children age two or younger. Groups of 10 or more can purchase single-day group tickets at $5 apiece by calling the Illinois Ticket Office.
The Orange and Blue will return to action next weekend at the 2013 Big Ten Tournament, April 25-28 in Bloomington, Ind.