Illini women's tennis prepares for visiting South Florida

Illinois%27+Louise+Kwong+runs+to+the+ball+to+make+a+return+during+the+game+against+Maryland+on+Saturday%2C+April+4.
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Illini women's tennis prepares for visiting South Florida

Illinois' Louise Kwong runs to the ball to make a return during the game against Maryland on Saturday, April 4.

Illinois' Louise Kwong runs to the ball to make a return during the game against Maryland on Saturday, April 4.

Illinois' Louise Kwong runs to the ball to make a return during the game against Maryland on Saturday, April 4.

Illinois' Louise Kwong runs to the ball to make a return during the game against Maryland on Saturday, April 4.

By Tim Griffin

With a 3-3 record, the Illini womens tennis team is looking to take a step above .500 against South Florida this Saturday. The Bulls are 1-3 so far in the Spring, and will be visiting Atkins Tennis Center for the Illini’s second home match of February.

The Illini and South Florida met last season as well, with Illinois winning on a 4-3 margin. The Bulls have struggled so far in the Spring, with their three losses coming to St. John’s, Florida, and USC.

The Illini have had a bit of slip recently as well, losing their last three matches. All three loses have come to teams all ranked in the top 35 in the most recent ITA rankings.

“We certainly understand we need to continue to work harder if we want to have positive results in our upcoming matches,” head coach Evan Clark said. “We are excited to get back on track at home on Saturday night.”

While their Spring season has been up and down so far, the Illini’s doubles play has been positive. They come into Saturday’s match with a 12-3 overall record in doubles. Top doubles pairing Louise Kwong and Ines Vias broke their way into the ITA rankings, coming in a No. 50.

As for the rest of their play, the Illini are still looking to improve.

“We still need to be able to process things quicker and make adjustments quicker on the match court,” Clark said. “We need to be open to play with some variety when we need to, along with being able to slow down and process our tennis during difficult match situations. We also just need to be tougher on big points which only comes with more match play.”

The Illini have continued to work on conditioning this week as well as been in the weight room. Clark also has had his players watch a lot of film from their loss to Kentucky, and has honed in on individualized practice sessions to better prepare themselves for South Florida.

“I think our expectations are definitely to win this weekend,” junior Alexis Casati said. “We have been working hard and I think we are ready for a W again.”

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@TimGriffy6