Illinois women’s tennis to take on Auburn this weekend

Illinois+Alexis+Casati+gets+ready+to+return+the+ball+during+the+match+against+Nebraska+at+the+Atkins+Tennis+Center+on+Sunday%2C+April+3.+

Austin Yattoni

Illinois’ Alexis Casati gets ready to return the ball during the match against Nebraska at the Atkin’s Tennis Center on Sunday, April 3.

By Christian Evans, Staff writer

After splitting the ITA Kickoff Weekend in Athens, Georgia, the Illinois women’s tennis team is heading back home for a matchup against Auburn this weekend.

While the team lost against No. 5 Georgia in the last match of Kickoff Weekend, head coach Evan Clark said there are positives to take from it.

“We played right with them,” Clark said. “Doubles, we got beat for sure, but after that it was a little more tight. Louise Kwong almost beat Ellen Perez from Georgia, who is one of the best players in the country. Daniela Pedraza Novak and Madie Baillon also had competitive matches, so we were right in them for singles on their home court. We will feel more comfortable in big matches as we move forward.”

Auburn is ranked No. 15 in the nation, and this is Illinois’ first home match of the year.

Clark said the Tigers will be a tough opponent, and the team needs to be more offensive, taking chances on bigger points.

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Sophomore Jaclyn Switkes said the team cannot afford to be defensive against highly ranked teams like Auburn, and that they need to “take the point from them.”

With the dual format of this match, the team will be playing right alongside each other as opposed to previous matches this year.

Clark said the dual format of this match is to the team’s advantage because this allows the players to feed off each other.

Senior Alexis Casati also said that the team’s aggressiveness will be key for the Illini.

“I think that if we come with a lot of energy and break them down from the very beginning, then when we can get a win,” Casati said.

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