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 kicks off 3-match homestand against Ole Miss on Sunday

Sophomore+McKenna+Schaefbauer+returns+the+ball+in+her+match+against+Junior+Kasia+Treiber+at+the+Fighting+Illini+Womens+Open+on+Nov.+7.
James Chen
Sophomore McKenna Schaefbauer returns the ball in her match against Junior Kasia Treiber at the Fighting Illini Women’s Open on Nov. 7.

After a week off, Illini women’s tennis returns to action at the Atkins Tennis Center in Champaign. The team will take on Ole Miss for the first time in over a decade at 11 a.m. on Sunday. The last meeting between the teams occurred in 2013 during ITA Kickoff Weekend. The Illini look to gain the program’s first win over Ole Miss, as they are currently 0-4 all-time.

Doubles will be something to keep a close eye on for the Illini. Head coach Evan Clark has shifted lineup positions and pairings after some recent underwhelming performances and injuries, and he may continue to do the same this weekend.

“The doubles point is huge, but obviously we can still win matches without doubles,” Clark said. “But at some point, it’s gonna really help us. We’re still trying to figure out some pairings probably.”

After her All-American campaign last season, junior Megan Heuser has had a tough start to the year in doubles. She has only won one match this season, and she has racked up three losses and had two matches go unfinished. However, Heuser is confident in her ability to bounce back and get into a groove.

“Doubles has definitely been a challenge for me, at least, playing a completely different side I haven’t played in years,” Heuser said. “Just kind of feeling out a new partner, there’s been a lot of changes. I think we just need more reps, more practice together.”

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    In singles, the player to watch will be sophomore standout Violeta Martinez. Martinez is 3-1 on the season, and she also had a lead against two nationally ranked opponents in matches that went unfinished against Duke and California. Additionally, she has been the clincher for the Illini in two matches this season against Eastern Illinois and Missouri.

    Going into Sunday’s matchup, the Illini are 4-2 after upsetting No. 23 UCF. Ole Miss is currently sitting at 3-1, with its most recent win coming over Purdue on Friday. This match will be a good opportunity for the Illini to back up their first top-25 win and gain some momentum, but the Rebels won’t back down easily, as they are looking to snatch their second Big Ten win of the weekend. 

     

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