Illinois women’s tennis team to play three matches in two days

Illinois+Ines+Vias+gets+ready+to+return+a+ball+against+Middle+Tennessee+at+Atkins+Tennis+Center+on+Friday%2C+Feb.+10.+The+Illini+won+6-1.

Austin Yattoni

Illinois’ Ines Vias gets ready to return a ball against Middle Tennessee at Atkins Tennis Center on Friday, Feb. 10. The Illini won 6-1.

By Christian Evans, Staff writer

After splitting its doubleheader last Friday against Texas Tech and Saint Louis, the Illinois women’s tennis team will take on Rutgers, Maryland and Southern Illinois this weekend.

The team will first host Rutgers on Saturday morning.

The Scarlet Knights (5-6) have had difficulties with their singles play this season. The team only mustered one singles win against Indiana in its last match.

Head coach Evan Clark said his team can take advantage of Rutgers’ struggles in singles competition by coming out with a purpose.

“It is all about the way you start with singles,” Clark said. “We got off to good starts against Florida State and Texas Tech. We are looking forward to them competing that way moving forward, and I expect them to come out fired up against Rutgers, Maryland, and Southern Illinois.”

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Maryland (10-1) has won four matches in a row and are No.33 in the nation, which is its highest ranking in program history.

The Terrapins are also undefeated on the road and have won 10 consecutive doubles points.

Clark said that for the Illini to break those streaks, they will need to keep the pace of the match under control.

“We need to make sure the match is not going too fast,” Clark said. “Maryland plays physically and with a lot of pace on their balls. So it is really important for us to get on offense first in doubles and mix it up to throw them off.  We do not want them seeing the pace that they want over and over again.”

The Illini will conclude their weekend against Southern Illinois (6-7) on Sunday afternoon.

Clark said that three matches in one weekend is nothing that his team cannot manage.

“We have nine players, and they all can play,” Clark said. “We are hoping that we can mix the lineups up and get a lot of people in. The next couple of days we will take it lightly so we can really go after it Saturday and Sunday.”

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