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Falkin, Kopinski earn preseason rankings
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (UI Release) – On Friday, Fighting Illini senior Allison Falkin and junior Melissa Kopinski both picked up preseason national rankings and invitations to the Riviera/ITA Women’s All-American Championships. The tournament starts on Sept. 28 in Westwood, Calif., and moves to Pacific Palisades, Calif., after the pre-qualifying round.
“The All-American tournament is a top tier tournament with high caliber players,” head coach Michelle Dasso said. “Both Allison and Melissa have experience under their belts from previous seasons and still have a couple weeks to prepare physically and mentally. More than anything they will be excited to get back to competition mode.”
In the preseason singles rankings, Falkin is ranked No. 89 nationally and Kopinski is ranked No. 102. The duo is ranked No. 35 nationally in the doubles rankings. Falkin is a two-time first-team All-Big Ten selection and led the team last year with 19 singles wins. She went 6-2 at the No. 1 singles spot and led the team with a 7-3 Big Ten record. She ended last year ranked sixth in singles in the Midwest Region.
Kopinski earned All-America honors last year in doubles with Rachel White after the pair advanced to the quarterfinals at the NCAA Championships. Kopinski and White became Illinois’ first All-Americans since Lindsey Nimmo in 1993. Kopinski and White ended the season ranked No. 15 nationally and No. 2 in the Midwest Region. In singles, Kopinski picked up 13 wins playing on Nos. 1 and 2 singles for the Illini and earned second-team All-Big Ten honors.
Both players competed at last year’s Riviera/ITA Women’s All-American Championship. In singles, Falkin lost a pre-qualifying match to Callie Craig of Utah. Kopinski dropped her first match in the qualifying round to Ecaterina Vasenina of South Florida but bounced back to win her backdraw match with Maria Fuccilo of Virginia. In doubles, Kopinski and White advance all the way to the quarterfinals and beat four nationally ranked opponents along the way, including two top-10 teams.
Kopinski will start her singles run at the pre-qualifying round on Sept. 28 in Westwood, Calif. Falkin will play in the qualifying round, beginning on Oct. 1. The doubles tadem of Kopinski and Falkin will also start on Oct. 1 in the qualifying round. Main draw action will start on Oct. 3.