Women’s tennis to host unranked UIC

 

 

By Laura Hettiger

The Fighting Illini women’s tennis team is ready to face Illinois-Chicago on Sunday in hopes of winning its first home match of the season.

After defeating Marquette in their season opener on Jan. 20, the Illini have since struggled with two nationally ranked teams. With losses to No. 4 Notre Dame and No. 30 Tennessee, the team is eager to get back on a winning track.

“We have been working hard all week in practice to prepare for UIC this Sunday,” head coach Melissa Dasso said. “I know all the girls are anxious to get right back out there this weekend and compete hard.”

In the midst of an eight-game home stretch, the young team is continuing to learn and improve its individual skills. Consisting of only eight members, the team includes three freshmen, two sophomores, two juniors and only one senior. Having such an inexperienced roster, each player has taken on an important leadership role.

“Every single person on our team plays a vital role in our success,” Dasso said. “It will be a team effort.”

This season is a rebuilding year for the Illini, whose schedule holds several nationally ranked teams. Aside from their previous opponents Notre Dame and Tennessee, three of the next four teams they will face are ranked in the top 40.

Even though their schedule is unforgiving, the intensity the team plays with will dictate the flow and result of its matches. Matching up against UIC will give Illinois a chance to play a team at their level but will also allow the players to gain experience through their individual performances. The match will hopefully build up the confidence of the young team as they become more familiar competing in dual matches.

Illinois enters the match with a 1-2 season record. The match is slated to begin at noon on Sunday at the Atkins Tennis Center.