Illinois women’s tennis looks for first win against Northwestern since 2004

Illinois+Louise+Kwong+gets+ready+to+return+the+ball+during+the+match+against+Middle+Tennessee+at+the+Atkins+Tennis+Center+on+Friday%2C+February+10.

Austin Yattoni

Illinois’ Louise Kwong gets ready to return the ball during the match against Middle Tennessee at the Atkins Tennis Center on Friday, February 10.

By Christian Evans, Staff writer

The Illinois women’s tennis team is looking to defeat Northwestern for the first time in over in a decade.

After losing to the Wildcats 4-3 last year, the Illini will head to Evanston, Illinois, on Sunday.

Louise Kwong, Alexis Casati and Ines Vias all dropped singles matches to the Wildcats.

Kwong said the team’s odds of winning against Northwestern for the first time since 2004 are high.

“As a team, we are a lot better this year,” Kwong said. “We were so close last year to beating them then, so I think this could be the year that we do beat them, and it would also be a good start to Big Ten play.”

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Jaclyn Switkes said she may have momentum on her side heading into this weekend.

Two weeks ago, the sophomore lost her singles and doubles match to No. 11 Auburn.

Switkes responded with victories in both of her singles matches and her lone doubles match in last weekend’s competition.

“Being so close to beating an 11th-ranked team in both singles and doubles gave me an initiative to come back and get wins to make up for my close losses,” Switkes said.

The Illini have dropped games to top-ranked teams Georgia and Auburn this season.

“(The Wildcats) have lost a couple, but those were against top-ten teams, which is kind of similar to our situation,” Illinois head coach Evan Clark said.

In its last two matches, Northwestern has lost to No. 9 Vanderbilt and No. 10 Duke.

The Illini are currently 3-5, while Northwestern is 4-3, losing three in a row.

“I think it is gonna be a close one, so it is just a matter of who wants it more,” Switkes said.

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