Illinois women’s tennis ends road trip winless

By Thomas Donley

Only Montse B. Fernandez of Wichita State stood between Julia Jamieson and a weekend split for the Illinois women’s tennis team. Jamieson came up short, though, falling in two sets, and the Illini ended their weekend road trip to Oklahoma and Wichita State winless, while battling sickness and injuries. 

Illinois lost its first match of the weekend at Oklahoma on Saturday by a final score of 5-2. Louise Kwong and Alexis Casati each won their respective singles matches Saturday, but it was not enough to take down an athletic Sooners squad. Oklahoma swept doubles, with Illinois winning just four games out of the three sets. 

“Oklahoma’s a very good program,” head coach Michelle Dasso said. “I think they’ll be in the top 20 by the end of the year. They’re the most athletic team that we’ve played. I don’t think they’ll lose many doubles points this year, but they just crushed us.”

Illinois was closer to a win in Sunday’s match but fell 4-3 at the hands of Wichita State. Kwong, Casati and Allison Falkin all won their respective singles matches. Falkin won her match in a hard-fought 13-11 third set over Wichita State’s Rebecca Pedrazzi. 

In doubles, the Illini only won one court with Casati and Melissa Kopinski, who won 6-3. 

“Doubles was huge, actually Saturday and Sunday,” Dasso said. “I would say it’s the common denominator there because if you look at our losses, we’re losing the doubles points.”

Melissa Kopinski and Jerricka Boone both played through injuries over the weekend, while Misia Kedzierski fought through an illness to play Sunday.

Dasso highlighted the efforts of Kwong and Casati, both freshmen, as well as those of senior Falkin as the bright spots of the weekend. Kwong and Casati were the only Illini with wins in each match.

After the pair of losses over the weekend, Illinois’ record fell to 4-3. 

Illinois will try to turn its focus from its disappointing showing this past weekend to preparing for its upcoming match against Wake Forest on Saturday. Dasso plans to focus on doubles in practice this week, perhaps switching up the pairings for the first time this season, if necessary, and on getting injured players back to full health. 

“We’ve just got to get back for next weekend,” Kopinski said.

Thomas can be reached at [email protected]