Softball completes sweep over Iowa

By Tim Griffin, Staff Writer

After advancing past No. 5 Maryland, the Illinois women’s tennis team was ousted by No. 1 Ohio State on Saturday in the Big Ten tournament.

The Illini faced off against the Terrapins on Friday, eventually notching a 4-1 victory to advance to the Big Ten semifinals for the first time since 2012. This was Illinois’ 15th win of the season, making this the first 15-win season for the Illini since 2012. 

“This was one of the best matches we played all year top-to-bottom, so for it to come in the postseason is a positive sign,” head coach Evan Clark said. “We played well across the board in doubles, and it was great to get three straight-set singles wins from Madie (Baillon), Ines (Vias) and Jaclyn (Switkes).”

This win put the Illini up against the Buckeyes on Saturday. The Buckeyes defeated No. 9 Wisconsin 4-0 on Friday.

Ohio State proved to be too much for the Illini, defeating them 4-0. The Buckeyes would go on to win the Big Ten Tournament, taking down No. 3 Michigan in the final, 4-2. 

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“Lots of credit to Ohio State on their play today and the year they are having,” Clark said. “The match was much closer than the score but we couldn’t quite put that first point on the board.”

The Illini proved competitive in doubles play early against the Buckeyes, jumping out to 2-1 leads at both No.1 and No. 3 doubles. But the highly-ranked duo of Anna Sanford and Miho Kowase proved to be too much for Louise Kwong and Vias at No.1 doubles.

“We had a lot of opportunities in doubles but couldn’t quite capitalize,” Clark said. “As always, that ended up being a huge point today.” 

Despite being down one, the Illini battled in singles play. Switkes, Vias, Baillon and Daniela Pedraza Novak battled against each of their counterparts, either pushing it to three sets or going unfinished.

“In singles, I couldn’t have been prouder of our fight and the way we competed,” Clark said.