No luck for Illini women

Austin Happel

Austin Happel

By Online Poster

Despite a doubles win over the No. 2 doubles team in the nation, the Illini women’s tennis team could not claim the match over the fifth-ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

“They were just better,” assistant coach JoAnne Russell said. “Notre Dame is used to winning.”

Illinois lost 7-0 to the Irish, once again failing to claim the doubles point. However, one bright spot was junior Emily Wang and sophomore Macall Harkins’ upset of the country’s second-ranked doubles team of Catrina and Christian Thompson.

“It was really good for me and Macall,” Wang said of beating them 8-4. “It doesn’t even matter they were the No. 2 team. We were up 6-3, we stayed at it and finished our match.”

Wang did not win her singles match, losing to Kelcy Tefft 6-2, 6-4. Despite the scores, Russell said that the numbers did not reflect the level of play from each player.

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    “I didn’t play that badly,” Wang said. “By the second set I adjusted well to my opponent.”

    She added that even though the team lost, it was still playing close to beating other teams. It was just a matter of time, she said, for Illinois to get a win.

    Russell felt that all the players had improved and added that they should be more fired up and have used the energy Wang and Harkins gave off in their doubles match.

    “I believe in the girls,” she said. “But they need to believe in themselves. I hope our girls are not getting used to losing.”

    Sophomore Momei Qu has been working on finding and improving her game throughout the season. She lost to No. 32-ranked Christian Thompson, 6-0, 6-3.

    “I was trying to be aggressive and I wasn’t in the first set,” she said. “I wasn’t getting my best shots in.”

    Qu added that she was unable to make Thompson uncomfortable with her shots, especially in the first set, which Thompson dictated.

    “I need to take the ball early and be more aggressive,” she said of what she needs to work on. “I need to make my opponent run.”

    Russell said it was the “lack of thinking they can scrap it out” that affected the women.

    “From experience in playing, you can win a lot of matches if you just swing it over the net one more time,” she said. “You just have to keep hanging in there and know they might lose. That’s the key.”