Rested Illini women ready to hit the courts in Boston

Ned Mulka The Daily Illini Illinois Leigh Finnegan returns the ball during doubles play against Kansas University at the Atkins Tennis Center on Friday, February 6th, 2009.The Illini swept the Jayhawks 7-0 in singles play.

Ned Mulka The Daily Illini Illinois’ Leigh Finnegan returns the ball during doubles play against Kansas University at the Atkins Tennis Center on Friday, February 6th, 2009.The Illini swept the Jayhawks 7-0 in singles play.

By Rosalind Dumlao

When the No. 33 Illinois women’s tennis team travels to Boston to face Harvard and Boston College, it will be without Amy Allin.

The freshman, who is out with an ankle injury, has seen action mostly at the No. 5 singles spot, posting a 5-2 record in singles in the dual-match season. Allin and sophomore Annie McCarthy have been the most consistent doubles duo this season, combining for a 5-1 record in doubles so far.

Although Allin won’t be on the court, the Illini feel they have the depth to overcome her absence. Illinois grabbed consecutive 7-0 sweeps in recent matches against UIC and Illinois State without playing freshman Chelcie Abajian and sophomore Marisa Lambropoulos. Head coach Michelle Dasso said she chose to rest both players in hopes of offsetting a heavy early season workload.

While Abajian and Lambropoulos will probably return to the lineup this weekend, the team has not seen action for almost two weeks. Dasso has mentioned the team’s “sluggish” starts in past matches, but she feels the team needed the break.

“It was nice to have the weekend off,” Dasso said. “We gave the girls a little bit of rest last week, and then had a really tough, productive week. “

During the break, the team worked on tiebreakers, situational matches, conditioning and on players’ individual games.

Although the Illini don’t know much about their upcoming opponents, the situation doesn’t bother them.

“We don’t really know what to expect,” Dasso said. “We know they’re talented, and we have to be ready to play … We have to grab that doubles point, and then just use that momentum.”

Although Harvard (1-2) and Boston College (3-1) do not appear in the ITA national rankings, both have a couple of individually ranked players.

Harvard senior Beier Ko holds the No. 52 slot in the ITA’s singles rankings. Boston College seniors Lauren Cash and Lana Krasnopolsky are ranked No. 96 and No. 118, respectively.

Illinois sophomore Leigh Finnegan started the dual season at No. 89 and was the only player ranked on the team at the time. Finnegan, who has been playing at the No. 1 singles spot, did not appear in the most recent national rankings but is not bothered by it.

“I just go out there and try to focus on my match,” Finnegan said. “I try not to focus too much on rankings.”