Illini work on individual, team weaknesses for future tournaments


By Danielle Rhody, Contributing Writer

The Illinois women’s tennis team played in the Wahoowa Invitational in Charlottesville, Virginia this weekend, the team’s first tournament of the fall season.

Overall, the team won two out of 12 doubles matches and 13 out of 29 singles matches. In singles, freshmen Josie Frazier and Emily Casati went 3-1, sophomore Shivani Ingle and junior Emilee Duong went 2-1, junior Sasha Belaya and freshman Ashley Yeah went 1-3, junior Mia Rabinowitz went 0-4 and senior Madeleine Gandawidjaja went 1-2.

In doubles Belaya and Frazier went 1-2, Ingle and Gandawidjaja went 0-3, Duong and Yeah went 0-3 and Rabinowitz and Casati went 1-3.

Head coach Evan Clark thought Frazier and Casati did well in the inaugural fall event.

“It was their first college tournament, so that was a really good effort by them,” Clark said. “Those two probably had the best single results, and as a freshman, it’s a big deal for their first tournament.”

One of the freshmen had an exceptionally good weekend.

“I think Emily Casati just had a good match over a girl from Virginia that played high in Virginia’s line up last year,” Clark said. “She played number two from Virginia. Virginia was a top 20 team last year, so I thought that was a pretty good result.”

Throughout the weekend, the team experienced some ups and downs but ended on a high note.

“Friday we were a little bit nervous,” Clark said. “On Saturday we started off pretty hot, then we ended poorly, which I wasn’t pleased about. Then Sunday we did really well. We went 5-3 in singles and finished on a good note”

For the upcoming tournaments, the team is going to be changing a few things prior to the spring season, which is more team-oriented than the fall season.

“We will change doubles teams for sure, we’ll mix it up,” Clark said.

Throughout the weekend, the players worked on certain areas they needed help on.

“We’re all working on different, separate things. For example, I’m working on taking the ball earlier and playing more aggressively,” Belaya said. “I know one of the freshmen are working on the same thing. I know that we tried to do that this past weekend, and even if it maybe wasn’t super successful, we know that the more we practice the better we are going to get at it.”

While working on individual weaknesses, the team also worked on one common weakness: focus.

“In tennis, it’s a long match and staying focused the whole time is definitely something that is hard to do, so I think a common trend on the team is that we sometimes let games here and there go,” Belaya said.

The team also showcased strengths throughout the tournament.

“Being positive with doubles,” Belaya said. “We’re trying our new teams right now because of the new freshmen, so staying positive throughout doubles and communicating with your partner. I think we did that well, too.”

Throughout the rest of the fall season, the team is going to be working on their individual and team weaknesses to prepare for the spring.

Illinois won’t play again until next weekend at the Baylor Invite in Texas.

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