Women’s tennis experiences success at Second Chance Regional

The Illinois women’s tennis team can now say that all of its members have played this season.

Sophomore Misia Kedzierski won all three of her singles matches at the Second Chance Regional at Northern Illinois, while the rest of the team won eight singles matches and seven doubles matches at the ITA Midwest Regional in Columbus, Ohio.

Kedzierski’s success impressed the Illini head coach Michelle Dasso.

“Misia made a statement there going 3-0,” Dasso said. “She’s practiced well and it’s nice to see that translate to the tournament.”

The remaining eight players that played in Ohio also gave their coach reason to be happy.

“I’m really fired up about this team,” Dasso said. “We have nine solid girls on our team that are fully invested and they’ve been working hard and it shows.”

Dasso said she was glad that her entire team was finally able to compete, especially the three players making their debuts: Kedzierski, junior Breanne Smutko and senior Chelcie Abajian.

“They certainly needed to get some matches and I’m very impressed with Bree’s run,” Dasso said.

In singles competition, Smutko led the way for the Illini by going 3-1 on the weekend in her first competitive action this season.

“I’m a huge competitor and it was great to be back on the court,” Smutko said. “It was a good start to me for the season. People are going to be expecting big things from me in the future.”

Smutko also partnered with Abajian in their season debut in doubles play. They won their first match but lost a close match to the No. 3 ranked pairing of Linda Abu Mushrefova and Nida Hamilton of Northwestern.

“It was a difference between two points in that tie break, and it could have gone either way,” Smutko said of her and Abajian’s loss to the Northwestern pairing.

Despite the loss, Smutko said her and Abajian performed well.

“I think we make a great doubles team and hopefully the coaches will play us together in future tournaments.”

Abajian won only one singles match but was glad to be back on the court.

“I think I got better as each match went on,” Abajian said. “I think it’s so hard getting back in the swing of things, but I’m glad I was able to get four matches in this weekend.”

Another Illini pairing that impressed Dasso was junior Rachael White and freshman Julia Jamieson. They went 3-1 this weekend, losing to No. 5-ranked Kristy Frilling and Shannon Matthews of Notre Dame in the doubles bracket semifinals.

The two other Illini pairings, Jamieson and senior Amy Allin, and senior Marisa Lambropoulos and sophomore Allison Falkin, reminded their head coach of the depth that this year’s team has.

“By far, I have so many options this year,” Dasso said. “I have complete confidence in all my players, which is a good problem for a coach to have. Across the board, I was impressed with our doubles play, particularly at this tournament.”