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

8 Illini compete at USTA/ITF 15K professional event

The fall college tennis season may be over, but Illini women’s tennis was not ready to stop competing. This past weekend, eight Illini took part in a 15K USTA/ITF professional tournament hosted at their stomping grounds: the Atkins Tennis Center. 

To kick off the action, junior Kida Ferrari, sophomore McKenna Schaefbauer, freshman Rosie Seccia, fifth-year Josie Frazier and freshman Alice Xu were placed in the qualifying singles draw. However, only two won both of their qualifying matches and made it into the main draw: Frazier and Schaefbauer. The next round presented a unique situation for Schaefbauer, whose opponent was Michaela Eddins.

“It was a little bit of an awkward situation because she was actually our assistant coach’s (Jacob Eddins) wife,” Schaefbauer said. “We knew each other a little bit so I just tried to focus on my game, what I was doing and being aggressive. That was the plan throughout and it worked in the beginning so I just kind of stuck with it.”

In the main draw, Frazier and Schaefbauer were joined by senior Kate Duong, junior Megan Heuser and junior Kasia Treiber, who all received wild cards. Additionally, Ferrari, who lost in qualifying, was granted a second chance due to another player withdrawing.

In the first round, the Illini all faced tough opponents, and it showed in the results. Heuser and Frazier both took on seeded players  —  No. 6 Gina Marie Dittman and No. 2 Stefani Webb — and they were both defeated in straight sets. Duong and Ferrari each fared slightly better, taking their opponents to three sets, but ultimately didn’t pull through either.

Get The Daily Illini in your inbox!

  • Catch the latest on University of Illinois news, sports, and more. Delivered every weekday.
  • Stay up to date on all things Illini sports. Delivered every Monday.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
Thank you for subscribing!

The final two Illini in the main draw — Treiber and Schaefbauer — by luck, were pitted against each other to start the tournament. It was a closely fought match, but in the end, Schaefbauer edged out her teammate 4-6, 6-4, 6-4.

“Going against a teammate is always hard,” Schaefbauer said. “We both competed really hard, so itʼs always nice in the end when we can both just look at it and we both tried our best. It was a really long match and we both fought really hard. It could have gone either way.”

Treiber, despite the result, echoed a similar sentiment.

“I think it’s healthy competition,” Treiber said. “We play each other in practice so often that it didn’t really make me nervous at all to play her in a real match. I knew it was going to be a competitive match, so I wasn’t really too worried about the results, and I was able to kind of just focus on what I wanted to work on with my game.”

Despite her gritty first round win, Schaefbauer faced a tough test against fellow American, No. 5 Kennedy Shaffer, in the second round. The lone Illini left in the main draw played Shaffer close in two sets but couldn’t get a leg up, losing 4-6, 5-7 to end singles play for the Illini.

In doubles, the same eight Illini were also set to play. The duo of Xu and Ferrari as well as Treiber and Seccia both bowed out in the first round. The format was best two out of three sets, with a 10-point tiebreak in lieu of a third set, which is much different than the standard college doubles format: an eight game pro set. The extended format changed the circumstances, but didn’t seem to be a reason for the losses.

“In the second set there’s just so many things that can change with our game style and our opponent’s game style compared to the first set, so there’s just a lot more thinking you have to do,” Treiber said. “I don’t think it negatively impacted us. Again, we played good doubles. It just came down to some errors in the tiebreak I think.”

However, the team of Schaefbauer and Frazier performed much better, pulling off a major upset against the No. 2 team of Kelly Keller and Carolina Gomez, 3-6, 6-4, 10-6. Schaefbauer was very positive about the adjustments they made in the second set and tiebreak after dropping the first set.

“Being able to come back in the second set, figure things out and learn what they didn’t like and capitalize on those things is what we tried to do,” Schaefbauer said. “That really worked towards our favor and we kept doing that and we had momentum going into the third. I was really excited that we were able to push through that match and be able to get another chance to play together in the fall.”

Finally, fresh off of a relatively uneventful few days at ITA Nationals where they went 1-2, the All-American tandem of Duong and Heuser took to the court one last time this fall. In the first round, the duo blew through their opponents in straight sets, 6-1, 6-1. However, in the quarterfinals, they did not fare well against the No. 4 team in the draw, falling 4-6, 2-6 to end their fall season. Schaefbauer and Frazier also lost their second round match, 2-6, 5-7.

With the fall now being over for the Illini, the team is looking toward the spring season, and they’re still holding onto the positive attitude that has been consistent all year.

“Having coach reiterate all the time to us that he didn’t really care about the wins and losses as long as we were trying to implement what we were working on, he was going to be happy and it was going to get better,” Schaefbauer said. “For me that’s exactly what happened, I just kind of stuck with the process and in the end I started playing really well. It gives me a lot of confidence going into the spring and makes me even more excited than I already am.” 



[email protected]

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Sahil Mittal
Sahil Mittal, Senior Sports Reporter
ILLordle: Play now