Senior Rachael White and sophomore Melissa Kopinski will compete for a national doubles title at the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships this week.
Nov. 7, 2012
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Fighting Illini tennis will send two doubles teams to the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships, Nov. 8-11 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y. Senior Rachael White and sophomore Melissa Kopinski will represent the women's team, while sophomore tandem Farris Gosea and Melissa's twin brother, Tim Kopinski, will represent the Illinois men.
Both duos punched their tickets to the tournament by winning Midwest Regional doubles titles in mid-October. The men's title marked the first of its kind for Illinois since former Illini Dennis Nevolo and Marek Czerwinski won the tournament in 2009 and was the fifth regional doubles championship for the Orange and Blue in the past 10 years. The women's victory was the first since Jennifer McGaffigan and Michelle Webb took the crown in 2002.
The men's and women's doubles championships will each include a 20-team main draw and consolation bracket and will feature USTA/ITA Division I Regional champions, USTA/ITA National Small College Super Bowl winners and finalists from the ITA All-American Championships.
White and Melissa Kopinski have highlighted the fall season for the Illini women with their Midwest Regional doubles crown, Riviera/ITA All-American quarterfinal appearance and team-leading 12 wins, including five over nationally ranked opponents.
"Regardless of the outcome of this weekend, Rachael and Melissa had an excellent fall together," women's head coach Michelle Dasso said. "They earned their way to New York and put themselves in a position to be playing for a national title in Flushing Meadows, which speaks volumes of their results this fall."
On the men's side, Gosea and Tim Kopinski are a perfect 6-0 with wins at the Midwest Regional and Audi Napa Valley Tennis Classic.
"It is always good to be a presence at the National Indoors," men's associate head coach Marcos Asse said. "It's especially nice when you have earned your own way. Tim and Farris deserve all the credit for getting there, but now we're looking to take that further, one match at a time. I know they have all the tools to win the tournament as long as they don't get ahead of themselves. It should be a fun ride."
The Kopinskis are the first set of twins to play on both Illini tennis teams. Melissa garnered first-team All Big Ten recognition and was voted Advantage Illinois Most Outstanding Player by her teammates in her debut season after leading the team in singles and doubles wins. Tim led the men's team last season with 22 doubles wins and was tied for second with 25 singles victories. Both of them were named Player to Watch by their respective teams.
The tournament will mark the final ITA competition of the fall season. Both the men's and women's squads will return to action in January.