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    Illini Set to Host Vanderbilt in First Round
    Junior Megan Fudge and the Illini host Vanderbilt in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

    Junior Megan Fudge and the Illini host Vanderbilt in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

    May 6, 2009

    Complete Notes in PDF Format Get Acrobat Reader

    Saturday, May 9
    Match 1: Fresno State (22-5) vs. Eastern Kentucky (22-5) 9 a.m. CDT
    Match 2: Illinois (18-7) vs. Vanderbilt (11-8) 12 p.m. CDT

    Sunday, May 10
    Match 3: Winner Match 1 vs. Winner Match 2 - 1 p.m. CDT

    *Complete Notes attached in .pdf format

    The University of Illinois women's tennis team will play host to the 2009 NCAA Regional Championships this weekend with the first round of action, set for Saturday, May 9. This is only the second time in the history of the Illinois women's tennis program that they have been selected to host the first and second rounds.

    The 34th-ranked Illini will host No. 19 Vanderbilt on May 9 at 12 pm CT, at the Khan Outdoor Tennis Complex. In the other first round match, the Illini women also welcome 16th-seeded Fresno State and Eastern Kentucky. This is the second straight year the Illini women have been selected for the "The Dance".

    The Illinois men's tennis team will also host the first and second rounds of the NCAA Men's Tennis Championships at the Khan Outdoor Tennis Complex, as they welcome Western Michigan into town on Friday, May 8 at 2 pm.

    First- and second-round competition will be conducted Friday-Sunday, May 8-10, at 16 different regional sites. The winner of each site advances to the NCAA Division I Men's & Women's Tennis Championships at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center in College State, Tex., May 14-25.

    Live scoring will be available at for all NCAA first and second round action at the Urbana-Champaign Regional.

    2009 Big Ten Tournament Review
    The Illinois women's team entered the 2009 conference tournament as the No. 3 seed and received a quarterfinal matchup against No. 6 Purdue. Illinois easily took care of the Boilermakers 4-1 and advanced to the semifinals, where they faced No. 2-seeded Michigan. The Orange and Blue put forth a strong effort, but fell just short to the Wolverines,4-3.

    Illinois has been led by the efforts of redshirt-sophomore Leigh Finnegan (21-11) and junior Megan Fudge (28-7), who have held down the No. 1 and 2 singles spots for the Illini this season. Fudge currently holds a No. 75-ranking in the latest Campbell's/ITA college tennis rankings, while Finnegan climbed up the charts to No. 103.

    Freshman Chelcie Abajian has had a solid debut season racking up 26 wins, while fellow freshman Amy Allin also has a strong first season with 24 wins. Sophomore Marisa Lambropoulos has 20 winS on the season and senior Shivani Dave has accumulated 18 wins thus far.

    The Fighting Illini are making the ninth post season appearance in school history. Last season the No. 36 Illini made it to the Big Dance, but fell 4-0 to No. 25 Tennessee in the first round. The Illini have advanced to the second round twice, in 2001 and 2003.

    The Vanderbilt Commodores are marking their 15th consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament. Last season, the No. 11 Commodores fell to No. 6 Florida Gators in the Sweet Sixteen. This season, Vanderbilt is ranked No. 19 in the most recent Campbell's/ITA college tennis poll. Freshman Jackie Wu and junior Catherine Newman lead the Commodores. Wu is ranked No. 52 and has compiled 26 wins on the season at No. 2 singles. Newman is ranked No. 64 and has 20 wins this season at No. 1 singles. In doubles, Wu teams up with fellow freshman Heather Steinbauer, ranked No. 43 in the polls.

    In the first match of the day on May 9, No. 16 Fresno State (22-5) will take on Eastern Kentucky (22-5). The Fresno State Bulldogs earned an automatic bid by winning the WAC Tournament over No. 36 Boise State, 4-3. This year's NCAA tournament marks the first ever appearance for the Eastern Kentucky Colonels. Eastern Kentucky also received an automatic bid by defeating Murray State 4-0 to become champions of the OVC tournament.

    This weekend at the First and Second Rounds of the NCAA Tournament, the Illini will trade in their traditional orange and blue laces, for pink ones, in support of administrative assistant Janice Revell. Revell, a valiant Illini supporter and breast cancer survivor is a huge part of the Illinois tennis program and the girls will show thanks and appreciation for all her hard work behind the scenes.

    Illinois redshirt-sophomore Leigh Finnegan and junior Megan Fudge of the Illinois women's tennis team were named to the All-Big Ten team at the annual Big Ten Tournament banquet. Fudge earned the honor for the third straight year, while Finnegan captured her first conference accolade. The two have been a force at the top of the Illinois lineup, leading the Illini to a third place finish in the Big Ten, their highest finish since 2003.

    Illinois junior Megan Fudge was named Big Ten Player of the Week for the week ending April 12. Fudge led the Illini charge that weekend, launching the Illini into a tie for second place in the Big Ten, with two key conference wins over Ohio State and Penn State. This is Fudge's third conference accolade in her career. Last season, Fudge was named Big Ten Player of the Week two times.

    At the 16th annual Advantage Illinois Tennis Banquet, junior Megan Fudge and redshirt-sophomore Leigh Finnegan shared the women's MVP award. Fudge was recently named an All-Big Ten selection for the third straight year. The Kaarst, Germany, native was named Big Ten Player of the Week once this season and has compiled a 28-7 singles record, her third straight 20-win season for the Illini. Finnegan also received All-Big Ten honors, the first of her career. The Wilmington, Del., native has accumulated a 21-11 record on the year, primarily at the No. 1 singles spot for the Fighting Illini.

    Junior Christine Stromberg earned the Scholar-Athlete award for her 3.88 GPA in Recreation, Sport, and Tourism and also earned the Strength and Conditioning Award. Junior Kristina Minor took home the Brianna Knue Fighting Illini Spirit Award, while freshman Amy Allin was designated as the Most Improved Player. Fellow freshman Chelcie Abajian was named the Player to Watch on the women's side.

    The Illini continued their impressive program turnaround this season, compiling their most wins since 2001, under the leadership of Head Coach Michelle Dasso. The Illini have five players with 20 wins or more in singles play and two players are nationally ranked in the ITA singles poll. In Big Ten Conference play, the Illini had an impressive eight wins and only two losses- which came to teams ranked in the top-20 nationally.

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