Illinois women’s tennis splits weekend in Raleigh


Photo courtesy of Harry Figiel / Illinois Athletics

Senior Josie Frazier hits an overhead during a match against Harvard on Jan. 20, 2022. On Saturday against NC State, Frazier was a top performer.

By James Barrowman, Staff Writer

Illinois came back from its first ITA competition with a win in one hand and a loss in the other. The weekend started off on Saturday with No. 3 NC State’s 4-0 win over Illinois. However, Illinois then turned the score around the next day, beating Furman 4-0 to cap off the weekend in Raleigh.

All eight of the Illini competed in both contests over the weekend. 

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The competition began with doubles where NC State would start out with the early lead on Court 3, 6-3. Senior duo Josie Frazier/Emily Casati would then level the playing field again when they beat No. 60 Abrams/Rencheli 6-3 to bring the doubles score to 1-1. However, NC State ended up winning the doubles point as No. 8 Miller/Rajecki defeated junior Kate Duong/sophomore Megan Heuser 6-3 on Court 1. 

Down by 1 heading into the singles competition, the Illini were looking to steal a point from NC State. Despite some back and forth matches as well as some games that went to 3 sets, the Illini were unable to grab a single point from the dominant NC State. Seniors Frazier, No. 70 Yeah, and Duong would each walk away with a set in singles but were unable to finish their matches as NC State walked away with 3 wins before the matches could be finished. Court 5 finished first as Sophomore Kaisa Treiber fell to Dittman, followed shortly after by Court 4 as Heuser lost to No. 97 Abrams, and finally Sophomore Kida Ferrari lost to Zyryanova after a back and forth battle in the 2 sets. 

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    Frazier had the best performance for Illinois on Saturday, being part of the pair that won their match in the doubles portion of the competition; she followed this up with 2 sets against No. 25 Rencheli, who suffered an injury in the middle of the first set, but returned after being helped by NC State trainers. NC State picked up their fourth point before Frazier and Rencheli were able to finish their match.

    The Illini bounced back to winning ways the following day however, as they hopped out to an early lead against Furman in the doubles matches that eventually led to a clean 4-0 sweep for Illinois on Sunday morning.

    Duong/Heuser were dominant against Furman’s Dawson/Snyder, quickly picking up a 6-1 win on Court 1 to set the tempo for the Illini in the morning contest. Casati/Frazier would follow next with a win on Court 2 against Pennings/Schulson. Yeah/Martinez started their game down 0-2 to start, but would bounce back shortly after, going up 5-2. Their game would go unfinished however, as Illinois would pick up the doubles point before the conclusion of the match.

    Illinois’ dominance continued in the singles competition as every player would win their first set by at least 2 points. Ferrari would beat Griffith without allowing a single point in the first set. Much like the doubles competition the singles would end up being a race to finish the competition as quickly as possible. Duong would end up grabbing the first singles point on Court 1, as she’d defeat Furman’s Dawon 6-2 in the two sets they played. Heuser would grab the second point for the Illini following a dominant performance in the two sets against Snyder on Court 4. The Illini would pick up the final point of the afternoon after Frazier’s 6-4 victory against Pennings at Court 3. 

    The ITA Kick-off Weekend was a mixed bag for the Illini, but it allowed them to gain experience facing a top 10 nationally ranked team and pick up a win before heading home for the next competition. Looking forward, the Illini will have the home court advantage as they’ll be hosting Georgia Tech on Friday, before facing Notre Dame on Sunday.


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