Women start season with win

By Derek Barichello

Women’s tennis started its spring season on the right foot this weekend defeating Hawaii 6-1.

In the spring season, players compete against each other in the team format, compared to the fall season when players compete as individuals in tournaments.

Coming into the season, the Illini believed their strength was going to be their doubles play because they have two interchangeable teams that can play at the top spot – freshman Macall Harkins and junior Brianna Knue, who are rated No. 54 in the country, and senior Cynthya Goulet and sophomore Emily Wang, who were ranked in the top 100 over the fall season.

The No. 33 Illini did not disappoint as they gained momentum early by sweeping the doubles matches and grabbing a 1-0 lead.

“I was very pleased with the way our players came out today and set the tone for the match in doubles,” said head coach Sujay Lama. “Singles was a little sloppy, but our players competed well.”

Get The Daily Illini in your inbox!

  • Catch the latest on University of Illinois news, sports, and more. Delivered every weekday.
  • Stay up to date on all things Illini sports. Delivered every Monday.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
Thank you for subscribing!

In singles play, No. 111 Goulet led the way for the Illini, topping No. 94 Lauren Fitzgerald of Hawaii in two sets 6-2, 6-3 at the No. 1 spot.

Freshmen Harkins, Momei Qu and Anastasia Sokolova all made the starting lineup in their first collegiate match. Harkins competed at the No. 2 seed, Qu at No. 3 and Sokolova No. 5. Both Harkins and Qu were victorious.

Knue and junior Pavlina Akritas picked up victories at No. 4 and No. 6 singles play as well.

Lama said he was proud of how his upperclassmen handled themselves over the week.

“Cynthya and Brianna were our veterans out there,” Lama said. “I thought they were good leaders, all week and during the match.”

The Illini spent the entire week in Hawaii utilizing the warm climate for outdoor workouts to get ready for the upcoming spring season.

“This was a great way to end a productive week,” Lama said. “We worked very hard out here.”

Although the Illini came away with the win and spent the week training, Lama believes there is still room for improvement.

“We have a lot to work on, of course,” Lama said. “But we expect that at this time of year.”

The Illini hit the courts again when they travel to Milwaukee to play Marquette Saturday.