The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

Illinois women’s tennis concludes team portion of fall competition at TCU

Sidney Malone
Junior Kasia Treiber readies to serve against Georgia Tech on Feb. 3.

Illinois women’s tennis traveled south over the weekend to Fort Worth, Texas to play in the TCU Invite, its last team tournament of the fall season. Just two Illini, junior Kida Ferrari and senior Kate Duong, did not make the trip to Texas. Across three days of competition, the team faced off against participants from five schools: Baylor, TCU, Kansas State, BYU and Kansas.

The Illini started off with a bang on Friday and won all three of their doubles matches, including a tiebreak victory by junior Megan Heuser and freshman Rosie Seccia. In singles, the team went 4-3 on day one but were 1-2 in matches that went to a third-set tiebreak. The lone singles tiebreak victor was fifth-year Josie Frazier, who battled past TCU junior Helena Narmont 4-6, 6-4, 1-0 (10-7). No matter the outcome of tight matches in the fall, head coach Evan Clark is happy that his team can have the experience.

“I think it’s good; the biggest thing for us was that we were competitive,” Clark said. “We had really competitive matches, even the matches that we lost. We were really competitive and there were a lot of situations right there on our racquet, putting ourselves in pretty good positions.”

The tiebreak theme continued on day two, where almost the entire lineup faced off against players from Kansas State. The strong doubles play that the Illini had put on display continued, with the team going 2-1 as a whole. But in singles, as it has been all fall, the results were much more varied and less predictable. Junior Kasia Treiber and Heuser each took their second singles loss in as many days, while Seccia also dropped a tight match in a third-set tiebreaker.

However, there were bright moments for the Illini as well. Frazier and sophomore McKenna Schaefbauer each dropped only four games en route to respective straight-set victories over BYU sophomore Tina Li and Kansas State sophomore Maria Santos. Those wins put the Illini at an even split for singles on day two, despite going 1-2 again in matches decided by third-set tiebreakers. Even so, Clark doubled down on the importance of experiencing those types of matches.

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Those experiences will pay off so much down the road,” Clark said. “As long as we go through them now and learn from them, we’ll be well off.”

On the final day of competition, it was a strict matchup of Kansas and Illinois throughout the entire doubles and singles lineup. After two days of competitive matches and close results, the team was looking to close the weekend out with another day of strong tennis. Ultimately, though, it was Kansas who came out on top and Illinois only won one singles and one doubles match throughout the day. Treiber was the sole Illini to pick up a victory in singles on day three, pulling through with a closely contested 7-6 (2), 7-5 win: one she was very excited to get. 

“It was very competitive, and I thought me and the girl were very close in level,” Treiber said. “Those matches are always the most fun for me, and if I get a win at the end, it’s even better.”

In doubles, it was the freshman duo of Seccia and Alice Xu who secured a win, and their performance didn’t go unnoticed either. 

“Obviously, Rosie and Alice had a great win on Sunday,” Clark said. “Two freshmen playing together, so that was pretty cool, but there’s a lot more options in doubles. We’re still trying to figure it out, but we’re getting closer.”

The mixture of doubles pairings was on full display this tournament. Only one duo stayed together for all three days: Schaefbauer and Frazier. Heuser played with a new partner each day because her usual partner, Duong, didn’t make the trip. Although there was a mix in pairings, the Illini posted a 6-3 doubles record for the weekend, continuing to show their prowess on the doubles court. Clark was very pleased with the toughness of his players at TCU and how they adjusted while still performing at a high level, something that he believes bodes well for the team in the spring.

“It shows that we’ve come a long way in doubles,” Clark said. “I think we have a lot more depth this year. We’ve just seen a lot of good progress in doubles from a few teams, and even when we mix teams that haven’t played together a lot, we’ve still had pretty good results. I think that shows we’ll probably have a lot of tough decisions to make for doubles in the spring.”



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Sahil Mittal
Sahil Mittal, Senior Sports Reporter
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