Women serve up first Big Ten match at home

Women serve up first Big Ten match at home

By Harini Ganesh

The women’s tennis team is getting geared up for its first Big Ten match at home this Sunday against Ohio State at the Atkins Tennis Center.

The Illini are 0-3 so far in the Big Ten conference but are hoping to garner a victory against the Buckeyes, using their home-court advantage and their extensive spring break match practice as the means.

“They have had an up-and-down season like us,” head coach Sujay Lama said of the Buckeyes. “But we can’t worry about them. We have to worry about ourselves and get it going. There’s got to be a sense of urgency.”

The team played three road matches last week and took three days completely off from tennis to recover from the exhaustion of travel and back-to-back matches. With an overall record of 5-9 this season, Lama said that the team should not get ahead of itself and use the Ohio State match as “a springboard to get back into the game and put a few points together.”

“There hasn’t been consistency,” he said. “We have to have that to get it done.”

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Senior Brianna Knue has been struggling with this throughout the season. She won her match against Jenny Shular of Penn State, 6-4, 6-1. It was the first singles win since the Feb. 4 match against UIC.

“It gave me a little more confidence,” she said of her Penn State win. “Lacking consistency is a big part of our problem. We all have to ask each other to try as hard as we can.”

There have been players that have proven themselves when put to the test and played their best against their opponents. Lama said that the team does not want to quit and is going to find a way to keep the season going, especially against Ohio State.

The excitement of the rivalries ensued by the Big Ten season is what sophomore Momei Qu is looking forward to. She said Ohio State is a really loud, feisty team but the real test will be mental, to see who can stay focused throughout the match.

“Everyone works hard and if we keep believing in our own game and have faith in tough times, we can do it,” she said.

Qu also sustained an injury in her right hand, breaking a tendon in one of her fingers. Despite the exhaustion from the week before and this hurdle, she thinks if the team plays with confidence and believes in itself, it can win.

Knue agreed that playing the Buckeyes is another opportunity to do well.

“It’s never over till it’s over,” she said. “That’s the beauty of this war. We can turn this thing around.”