Homestand puts Illini above .500


Austin Yattoni

Illinois’ Madie Baillon gets ready to return a ball against Nebraska at the Atkins Tennis Center on April 3. The Illini lost to Ohio State and defeated Penn State this past weekend.

By Christian Evans, Staff writer

The Illinois women’s tennis team went 1-1 during its short homestand, losing to No. 4 Ohio State on Friday and beating Penn State on Sunday.

In the first doubles match, the Illini lost on Court One to the Buckeyes. Ohio State’s Francesca Di Lorenzo and Miho Kowase defeated sophomore Ines Vias and senior Louise Kwong, 6-1.

Sandy Niehaus and Olivia Sneed clinched the doubles point on Court Three for Ohio State in a 6-4 win over Illinois’ sophomore Daniela Pedraza Novak and senior Alexis Casati.

The Buckeyes carried the momentum from doubles into singles matches.

In the first singles match, Sneed defeated Illinois’ junior Grace Tapak 6-0, 6-1 at the No. 6 position. Ohio State’s Anna Sanford followed that up on Court Two in a 6-2, 6-3 win over Casati to extend the Buckeye lead to 3-0.

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Niehaus clinched the Buckeyes win in the next match. She won 6-2, 6-4 at the No. 5 position over Novak. Kowase extended her win streak to 19 in the next match, defeating Illini senior Madie Baillon on Court Three 6-2, 6-3.

Kwong took on the No. 1 singles player in the nation, Di Lorenzo, in the next match. Kwong stayed close for a bit, but Ohio State’s star won 6-2, 6-3.

Ferny Angeles Paz won on Court Four against sophomore Jaclyn Switkes 7-6 (7-5), 6-2 to give the Buckeyes a 7-0 win over the Illini.

Illinois had little time to learn from its match against Ohio State, playing Penn State less than 48 hours later.

Despite that, the Illini started off well against the Nittany Lions. They won at No. 1 and No. 3 doubles to win the valuable doubles point.

On Court One, Kwong and Vias beat Penn State pair Devan McCluskey and Bennett Dunn, 6-1. Casati and Novak clinched the doubles point in a 6-3 win over Katia Blik and Samantha Smith.

With a 1-0 lead, Illinois did not let up in singles. Switkes started things off on Court Four against the Nittany Lions’ Dunn. Switkes deafeated Dunn 6-0, 6-1.

At No. 5 singles, Novak fought to extend the Illini lead to 3-0. She won 6-2, 2-6, 6-2 over Penn State’s Smith.

Baillon battled for a 4-6, 6-3, 6-1 win over Penn State’s Jacqueline Zuhse at the No. 3 position. Baillon’s win gave Illinois a 4-0 victory over Penn State.

The Illini improved to 12-11 overall and 6-3 in conference play with the win. The Nittany Lions fell to 5-14 overall and 2-7 in conference.

Illinois will play two of its three remaining regular season matches this weekend. Illinois faces Michigan State on the road Friday and return to the Atkins Tennis Center on Sunday to play Michigan.

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