The Illini will conclude the regular season at Minnesota and Wisconsin this weekend.
April 21, 2011
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The Illini women's tennis team (9-10, 5-3 Big Ten) heads north this weekend for its final matches of the regular season, beginning with Minnesota (5-15, 1-7) on Friday at 6 p.m. and concluding at Wisconsin (12-10, 3-5) on Sunday at noon. Illinois leads the all-time series with Minnesota, 23-17, and has won nine of the last 12 matches over the Gophers, including three straight. Against Wisconsin, the Illini have claimed five straight since 2006 and hold a 22-15 all-time series lead over the Badgers.
Live scoring for the Minnesota match will be available at gophersports.com and a live blog at Wisconsin will be available at uwbadgers.com.
CAMPBELL/ITA NATIONAL RANKINGS
In individual rankings released Tuesday, sophomore Rachael White checked in at No. 117 in singles and No. 29 in doubles with freshman Allison Falkin. Junior Chelcie Abajian and sophomore Breanne Smutko were ranked in doubles as well, coming in at No. 74.
BIG TEN STANDINGS
Heading into the final weekend of regular-season play, both Michigan (19-3, 9-0) and Northwestern (16-6, 8-0) remain undefeated in Big Ten matches to share the top spot. Ohio State (13-9, 6-2) is in third, while Illinois (9-10, 5-3) and Purdue (11-7, 5-3) are tied for fourth. Rounding out the rest is Wisconsin (12-10, 3-5) and Iowa (6-13, 3-5) tied for sixth, Indiana (12-9, 2-6) and Penn State (6-13, 2-6) tied for eighth, Minnesota (5-15, 1-7) in 10th and Michigan State (12-10, 1-8) in 11th.
SCOUTING THE OPPONENTS
Despite spending much of the season in the rankings, Minnesota has struggled to continue the momentum. The Gophers reached as high as No. 59 in March, but have collected just five wins on the year, defeating Kentucky, Marquette, Oregon, BYU and most recently Michigan State, which snapped an eight-match losing streak. Natallia Pintusava, ranked No. 81, boasts a team-best 18 wins, while Magdalena Wiecha has 15 and Alessandra Ferrazzi has recorded 13.
Wisconsin's season has been similar to Minnesota's, with the Badgers dropping five of their last seven matches, though a recent victory over Penn State snapped a four-match skid. Hannah Berner and Jenny Hois are tied for the team lead with 14 wins apiece, while Jessica Seyferth has tallied 11.
LAST TIME OUT
The Illini bounced back to defeat Michigan State, 6-1, last Sunday in their final home match of the regular season. Seniors Leigh Finnegan and Annie McCarthy were honored prior to the match for their accomplishments over the last four seasons, and both ended the home slate on a positive note, finishing one-two in singles to help lead the Illini to victory.
In doubles, Finnegan and junior Amy Allin won their eighth match of the year with a victory over Olga Chernova and Katarina Lingl, 8-2, and the 25th-ranked tandem of sophomore Rachael White and freshman Allison Falkin clinched the point with an 8-3 defeat of No. 27 Amy Barton and Marina Bohrer. White and Falkin lead the team with 16 wins, including four in Big Ten play.
McCarthy and Finnegan made quick of their opponents, as McCarthy downed Dana Guentert, 6-2, 6-3, for her sixth straight win, and Finnegan cruised past Nicole Herzog, 6-1, 6-1, for her second Big Ten win. With a 3-1 advantage, Falkin rallied past Bohrer, 2-6, 6-1, 6-1, to clinch the match and collected her 16th win of the year. The two ranked Illini closed out the afternoon with victories of their own, as No. 110 White secured her 15th win of the year and No. 125 sophomore Breanne Smutko earned her 11th.
Illinois will travel to Michigan next weekend for the Big Ten Tournament, April 28-May 1, in Ann Arbor.