BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (UI Release) - The fifth-seeded Fighting Illini women's tennis team (14-10) cruised to a 4-1 victory over 12th-seeded Michigan State (11-16) in the opening round of the Big Ten Tournament Thursday morning at the IU Varsity Tennis Courts. With the win, Illinois advances to Friday's quarterfinals and will face fourth-seeded Purdue (16-4) tomorrow at 9 a.m. CT.
"We are looking forward to another crack at Purdue tomorrow," head coach Michelle Dasso said. "We believe in each other and believe we have the ability to take one from Purdue. They beat us at home on Sunday and are last year's tournament champs, so the pressure is on them. We want this one badly."
The Illini earned the doubles point for the sixth straight match, winning at Nos. 1 and 3. Sophomore Melissa Kopinski and senior Rachael White, the 25th-ranked duo in the nation, led off with an 8-3 win over Marina Bohrer and Catherine Parenteau at the top spot. Freshman Audrey O'Connor and senior Breanne Smutko notched the point with an 8-2 victory over Nicole Herzog and Michaela Silesova at the No. 3 spot.
In singles, White picked up a quick 6-2, 6-3 win over Parenteau on court three, marking her sixth straight singles win. Junior Allison Falkin, who is ranked 117th in the nation, followed with a 6-3, 6-1 victory over Bohrer on court one. The Orange and Blue dropped the match at No. 5, but Smutko responded with a 6-2, 6-4 win over Herzog on court four to give Illinois its fifth victory in its last six matches.
Friday's contest will be a rematch of last Sunday's meeting with the Boilermakers. After winning the doubles point, the Illini came up short to Purdue, suffering a 5-2 loss in their regular season finale. White was the lone Illinois singles winner in the match.
#43 Illinois 4, Michigan State 1
1. #117 Allison Falkin (ILL) def. Marina Bohrer (MSU) 6-3, 6-1
2. #111 Melissa Kopinski (ILL) vs. Olga Chernova (MSU) unfinished
3. Rachael White (ILL) def. Catherine Parenteau (MSU) 6-2, 6-3
4. Breanne Smutko (ILL) def. Nicole Herzog (MSU) 6-2, 6-4
5. Emily Meyers (MSU) def. Misia Kedzierski (ILL) 6-4, 6-2
6. Julia Jamieson (ILL) vs. Julianne Gruber (MSU) 6-3, 1-4, unfinished
1. #25 Melissa Kopinski/Rachael White (ILL) def. Marina Bohrer/Catherine Parenteau (MSU) 8-3
2. Allison Falkin/Misia Kedzierski (ILL) vs. Julianne Gruber/Emily Meyers (MSU) 5-4, unfinished
3. Audrey O'Connor/Breanne Smutko (ILL) def. Nicole Herzog/Michaela Silesova (MSU) 8-2
Order of finish: Doubles (1,3); Singles (3,1,5,4)