Women’s tennis to compete in Hoosier Classic

By Stuart Lieberman

The Illinois women’s tennis team looks to build its confidence Friday, as it heads to Bloomington, Ind., to compete in the Hoosier Classic. With one fall tournament under their belt, the Illini know what they are capable of and hope to perform to their potential.

“I hope (the women) gain a lot of confidence this weekend and see that belief in themselves,” head coach Michelle Dasso said.

The Illini will face other Big Ten teams including Indiana and Iowa, as well as women from Kansas, Kansas State, Western Michigan and Georgia. The team expects to be broken into singles and doubles flights on Friday. The tournament will continue through Sunday.

The Illini will travel without sophomores Megan Fudge and Kristina Minor and redshirt freshman Leigh Finnegan. Fudge and Finnegan are returning from Pacific Palisades, Calif., where they competed in the Riviera/ITA Women’s All-American Championships. Meanwhile, Minor will stay in Champaign to heal her sprained ankle.

With such a young team heading to Bloomington, Dasso said the team must be patient because confidence will not come overnight.

Since Fudge and Finnegan will not compete with the team, Dasso said she is looking for freshman Marisa Lambropoulos to step up.

“She is the type of person who can play with any competition,” Dasso said. “Her believing in herself is the key. If she believes in herself she will hit all of her ground strokes.”

Lambropoulos said the team began to build its confidence after the first tournament.

“Now I think we know what we are comfortable with,” she said. “We have a pretty young team – I think we’ve come together and I think we have confidence.”

Dasso also said she is hoping for junior Shivani Dave and freshman Candy Graetz to have big weekends.

“I hope they get a few wins under themselves for confidence,” Dasso said.

“The fall is a chance for growth and we have a lot of growing to do.”