Illinois completes undefeated weekend against Indiana and Purdue

By Tim Griffin

#Illini register another undefeated weekend

The Illinois women’s tennis team continued its hot streak over the weekend.

The Illini registered an undefeated weekend after defeating both Indiana and Purdue. Illinois is now 12-6 on the spring season and 6-1 in the Big Ten, with their only conference loss coming to in-state rival Northwestern.

“I thought our girls did a great job of stepping into their roles at different spots and really toughing out some matches,” head coach Evan Clark said.

The Indiana Hoosiers were the first to arrive, taking on Illinois on Friday at the Atkins Tennis Center in Urbana, Illinois. The Illini took down the Hoosiers 5-2, handing them their third loss in conference play. 

Illinois maintained its strong doubles play, taking the doubles tally to give them a 1-0 lead. No. 43-ranked duo Louise Kwong and Ines Vias defeated Kim Schmider and Stephanie Smith to salvage the tally.

“I think we won a tight doubles point; to our girls’ credit, they found a way,” Clark said. “Ines and Lou were able to take care of business at one, and then Jerricka (Boone) and Madie (Baillon) were able to tough out a 7-6 breaker to win the doubles point.”

The Illini started off strong quickly in singles play with freshman Jaclyn Switkes continuing her hot streak. Switkes has won five-straight matches at the No. 5 spot for the Illini and is undefeated in conference action. 

Fellow freshman Vias won at No. 2 position for the Illini. This was Vias’ first appearance at the No. 2 slot in singles play. Kwong then closed it out for the Illini, taking down Indiana’s Paula Gutierrez 6-4, 3-6, 6-4.

“I thought everyone stepped in to the different roles really well today,” Clark said. “Ines did a great job at two, Madie did a good job at three. That’s the great thing about our team, we have some depth, especially at the bottom.”

The Purdue Boilermakers made the trip to Urbana on Sunday to try to end Illinois’ hot streak. But for the second season in a row, the Illini marked a seven-match winning streak, defeating Purdue 5-2. This dropped Purdue to 9-11 in the spring and 2-5 in the Big Ten.

For the 16th time this spring, the Illini opened the match with a 1-0 lead, taking another doubles tally.

“I was really proud with the way our doubles teams came together,” Clark said. “I loved how Jaclyn stepped in and got the win at No. 3 with Dani (Pedraza Novak).”

Kwong and Vias also racked up another doubles victory. They are now 7-0 in conference play.

In singles play, Kwong lead the Illini, securing her fifth-straight match victory at the No. 1 slot. Switkes also continued her strong play, beating Marta Ruedas-Burgos 6-0, 4-6, 6-3.

“Jaclyn has stepped in and meant a lot to us, obviously, being 6-0 in the Big Ten. She’s a really tough player to play against,” Clark said. “I feel really good about her against just about anybody down at Nos. 5 and 6.”

The Illini will have their third-straight Big Ten-filled weekend starting this Friday. They will take No. 3 Ohio State and then Penn State.

[email protected]

@TimGriffy6