Coach still seeking solid doubles effort

By Stuart Lieberman

The Illinois women’s tennis team played its third consecutive match against a ranked team on Sunday, and the result wasn’t much different from the first two. The Illini fell once again, as they were swept 7-0 by No. 21 Florida State in Tallahassee, Fla.

“No one likes to get shut out,” head coach Michelle Dasso said. “But I think they’re just better than us right now.”

The Seminoles’ home-court advantage proved to be too much for Illinois. However, Dasso was able to experiment with her doubles players, showcasing new teams at the No. 2 and 3 spots.

Freshman Marisa Lambropoulos teamed up with junior Shivani Dave at No. 2 for the first time, but the duo lost 9-8 in a tough battle.

Senior Momei Qu and freshman Annie McCarthy also played their first match together at No. 3 but were dominated by the Seminoles’ Carolin Walter and Frederica Suess, 8-0.

Dasso and her assistant coaches will be taking a trial and error approach with doubles in the next few weeks as they continue to try out new duos.

“We still need to make some changes,” Dasso said. “I think our doubles is going to be changing from match to match.”

In singles play, Fudge was the only player to take her match to a third set, but she was unable to escape with a victory.

Fudge lost 4-6, 6-2, 1-0 (9) to the Seminoles’ Lauren Macfarlane. At No. 2 singles, redshirt freshman Leigh Finnegan lost her fourth match in a row.

“Despite losing, she’s been playing better and better,” Dasso said. “We are really seeing positive things from her.”

The Illini will return home on Feb. 8 to host No. 59 DePaul, and then will travel to Lawrence, Kan., on Feb. 10 to face the University of Kansas. Dasso hopes the team can pull out two victories to boost its confidence before the Big Ten season rolls around.