No. 33 women’s tennis dominates during East Coast road trip

By Rosalind Dumlao

While the No. 33 Illinois women’s tennis team played on the unfamiliar courts in Boston, Mass., Illinois senior Shivani Dave encountered a more home-like atmosphere.

The Concord, Mass., native and Illinois wrapped up their East Coast road trip with a pair of wins against Harvard, 5-2, and Boston College, 6-1.

Dave, the only senior on the Illini, stepped into the lineup for the injured Amy Allin and played in front of her home crowd. The senior couldn’t find the exact words to describe her feelings playing in front of family and friends.

“This is my last year, it’s just an awesome feeling,” Dave said. “These are the things I will remember for the rest of my life … It’s different because our home matches are in Illinois so my family and friends can’t always come out there. But a lot of the people who came haven’t seen me play tennis in a while and (were) able to come together.”

While Dave only returns to her Massachusetts roots once about every five months, she estimated that she drew a crowd of 15-20 family and friends.

Dave, who made only two singles appearances prior to the weekend, saw action at the No. 5 singles against Harvard and No. 6 against Boston College. She won both her matches in straight sets, 6-3, 6-4 and 6-2, 6-4, respectively.

The senior also combined with sophomore Annie McCarthy at the No. 3 doubles to grab a pair of wins against Harvard, 8-4, and Boston College, 8-5.

The Massachusetts native is a significant component of the Illini’s depth.

“Shivani Dave hadn’t seen a lot of singles play action for us against,” Illinois head coach Michelle Dasso said. “But she sets up big for us going 4-0 this weekend in front of her (family and friends) … It was certainly special for her and the highlight of the weekend.”

Going undefeated in singles so far and grabbing two of those wins at her hometown is one way Dave said helps make her senior year memorable.

While Dave’s singles record remains unblemished, junior Megan Fudge also continues to pile on her undefeated record as well as she went 8-0.

When asked about how she is able to keep her winning ways, Fudge, a junior, said she feels more conditioned, confident and experienced.

The Illini are on a five-match winning streak and improve their overall record to 7-2. Illinois will return on the road Saturday to face No. 75 Marquette.