URBANA, Ill. (UI Release) - The Fighting Illini women's tennis team (7-8, 1-3 Big Ten) captured its first conference win of the season with a 5-2 victory over Wisconsin (3-12, 1-3) Friday evening at the Atkins Tennis Center. The win ended Illinois' four-match losing streak and marked the first time in 2013 that the Orange and Blue won a dual match after losing a doubles point.
"The team really came together in singles," head coach Michelle Dasso said. "Some serious leadership occurred after losing in doubles. We were two different teams in doubles and singles, and I'm really proud of how we played in singles."
Junior tandem Allison Falkin and Misia Kedzierski led off with a quick 8-1 victory over Lauren Burich and Pernilla Wohlstrom at the No. 3 spot in doubles, but the Illini were unable to maintain the momentum, losing matches at Nos. 1 and 2 to give the Badgers a 1-0 lead.
Illinois evened the score after freshman Audrey O'Connor won her court-six singles match by default, following Wisconsin's decision to not compete at the No. 6 spot. Sophomore Melissa Kopinski followed with a convincing 6-3, 6-3 victory over Hannah Berner at the top spot, while Kedzierski earned a 6-4, 6-1 decision over Katie Hoch on court five to put the Illini one win away from their first dual victory in their last five contests.
Falkin clinched the match with a 7-5, 6-2 win over Lauren Chypyha at the No. 2 spot, and senior Breanne Smutko added a point with a 7-6(3), 6-3 win over Burich on court three, marking the fourth straight singles win for the Alpharetta, Ga., native. Senior Rachael White dropped a three-set thriller on court four in the final match of the day.
The Illini will return to the Atkins Tennis Center on Sunday for a doubleheader, featuring Minnesota at 11 a.m. CT and Chicago State at 4 p.m.
#52 Illinois 5, Wisconsin 2
1. Melissa Kopinski (ILL) def. Hannah Berner (WIS) 6-3, 6-3
2. Allison Falkin (ILL) def. Lauren Chypyha (WIS) 7-5, 6-2
3. Breanne Smutko (ILL) def. Lauren Burich (WIS) 7-6(3), 6-3
4. A. Tripolskaya (WIS) def. Rachael White (ILL) 3-6, 7-5, 6-4
5. Misia Kedzierski (ILL) def. Katie Hoch (WIS) 6-4, 6-1
6. Audrey O'Connor (ILL) def. Helen Rabot (WIS), by default
1. Hannah Berner/Lauren Chypyha (WIS) def. #21 Rachael White/Melissa Kopinski (ILL) 8-6
2. Katie Hoch/A. Tripolskaya (WIS) def. Breanne Smutko/Audrey O'Connor (ILL) 8-4
3. Allison Falkin/Misia Kedzierski (ILL) def. Lauren Burich/Pernilla Wohlstrom (WIS) 8-1
Order of finish: Doubles (3,1,2); Singles (6,1,5,2,3,4)