Sophomore Megan Fudge (pictured) and redshirt freshman Leigh Finnegan head to the 2007 ITA All-American Champoinships.
Sept. 27, 2007
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Sophomore Megan Fudge and redshirt freshman Leigh Finnegan of the Illinois women's tennis team are set to begin action at the prestigious Riviera/ITA Women's All-American Championships presented by Fila Sept. 29-Oct. 7 in Pacific Palisades, Calif. Fudge and Finnegan both open play on Friday, Sept. 29, with Fudge participating in prequalifying for singles and the duo joining together for their opening match in prequalifying doubles.
"The All-American Championships is one of the most prestigious tournaments in the fall, so this will be a great opportunity and experience for both Megan and Leigh," head coach Michelle Dasso said. "This is where the best of the best come to compete, and Fudge and Finnegan belong there. The two of them complement each other very well and make a solid doubles team. The key to their success will be their mental toughness and how much they believe in themselves and each other."
No. 120 Fudge debuts at the ITA Championships against Stephanie Dalmacio of Wichita State in her first-round match slated for a 12:15 a.m. CT start on Friday. A sophomore from WSU, Dalmacio was named to the 2007 Missouri Valley All-Conference team at No. 4 singles and No. 2 doubles and will match her resume against Illinois' winningest player a year ago. Fudge finished the season with a team-leading 22 wins before receiving All-Big Ten honors to cap off the year.
Overall, the 2007 All-American run for Fudge begins in the 64-player prequalifying field. To advance into the main draw of singles, Fudge must string together three straight match wins in prequalifying (Sept. 29-30) and then three in the qualifying draw (Oct. 2-3) before joining the 32-player main draw bracket (Oct. 4-7). If Fudge were to win the All-American title, she would have to go 11-0 over the course of the nine-day championships.
Should Fudge advance, her second-round match will take place at 3:45 p.m. CT. The final prequalifying match is slated for Sunday, Sept. 30, at 2 p.m. CT, should Fudge continue through the bracket.
In doubles, Finnegan and Fudge are matched against Southern California's duo of Lindsay Kinstler and Cristala Andrews. Finnegan and Fudge, who opened the 2007 season with a lot of promise, going 7-4 in the fall, had their doubles year cut short after Finnegan suffered a season-ending foot injury. The duo now faces the Trojans' unproven freshmen duo of Andrews, an Emerald Bay, Calif., native, and Kinstler, a product of Las Vegas, Nev.
The talented Orange and Blue duo's road to the main draw consists of three straight wins in prequalifying followed by three more consecutive in qualifying before joining the ranks of the 16-team main draw field. Should the young pair win the title, they will have posted a 10-match win streak en route to the crown.
In the case that the Illini tandem advances, they will play their final two rounds of prequalifying on Sunday, Sept. 30 with times to be announced.
For continued coverage of the Illini at the ITA All-American Championships, visit Fightingillini.com at the conclusion of each day's actions, or the official tournament web site located at itatennis.com by clicking on the Riviera/ITA Women's All-American Championships logo on the right side of the page.