Illini women's tennis prepares for Big Ten duo

By Tim Griffin

tweet: @illiniwtennis prepares for Big Ten duo as Iowa and Nebraska come to town

The Illinois women’s tennis team is awaiting two Big Ten counterparts to make the trip to Urbana this coming weekend. The Illini will take on the Iowa Hawkeyes on Friday and then the Nebraska Cornhuskers on Sunday at the Atkins Tennis Center. 

The Illini are back over the .500 hump after a three-game sweep during spring break. They are 8-6, and 2-1 in Big Ten play. Despite picking up three big wins over spring break, head coach Evan Clark said the team did not play great. 

“To our credit, we found ways to win matches and that’s definitely a step in the right direction.,” Clark said. “We still feel like our best tennis is ahead of us, and if all six players show up on the same day, then we will have something very special.”

Clark also mentioned that practice will still be “business as usual,” despite winning three matches over spring break. In preparation for the team’s Big Ten opponents, Clark has had each of his players focus more of their individual play in order for them to keep winning.

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“Our team does a great job of understanding that we still need to be a lot better in several areas if we want to keep having success,” Clark said. “Each individual has certain things they need to clean up so we are focused on taking care of those details. We will do a good job of keeping them fresh for two matches on Friday and Sunday this weekend.”

Iowa will be the first to take on the Illini this weekend. The Hawkeyes are 10-9 on the year, but 0-5 in the Big Ten so far and have struggled on the road with a 2-5 record. Last year, Illinois beat Iowa  6-1 in the second-to-last match of the season. However, in 2014, the Hawkeyes held the upper hand, narrowly beating the Illini, 4-3.

 As for the Huskers, they are 17-2 on the season and 4-1 in the Big Ten. Nebraska’s record is impressive, but its No. 75 ranking shows its strength of schedule has been relatively weak. In the last two years, the Illini have gone 3-0 verse the Cornhuskers, defeating them 4-2, 4-0 in the 2014 Big Ten Tournament and 6-1 in their matchup last season.

The Illini will be prepared no matter what prerequisites their opponents hold.

“We are preparing the same as we would for any other match, every Big Ten team is good,” junior captain Alexis Casati said. “We are looking to take care of business this weekend and come out with two wins.”


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