Women's Tennis Edged by Detroit, Ending Historic 17-Year Winning Streak

Senior Haley Craig
Senior Haley Craig

April 6, 2013

CHICAGO - After winning 146-consecutive matches against conference opponents, the UIC women's tennis team (11-5, 3-1 HL) had its historic streak come to an end Saturday, as the Flames fell to Detroit, 4-3, in a Horizon League dual match at the Flames Outdoor Tennis Courts. Prior to the match, UIC honored its lone senior, Haley Craig, who went 2-0 on the day in doubles and singles play.

UIC hadn't been defeated by a conference opponent since the 1996 season, when the Flames fell to Green Bay (April 21, 1996) in the postseason tournament final.

The Titans were a challenge for the Flames from the start, as the teams began in doubles and Detroit took two of the three matches to jump out to a 1-0 lead.

At No. 1 doubles, Craig and Mariana Palacios downed Elena Strakhova and Valery Kulikovskaya, 8-3, for the first win of the day. Kathryn Sharples and Jana Knoppe suffered an 8-4 loss at No. 2 to Nino Sujashvili and Irina Slizovskaya, while Natalia Kuvakina and Ann-Sophie Hahnfell to Raina Halabi and Chloe Karoub, 8-6, at No. 3.

In singles, UIC had three of its matches extend to a decisive third set, while claiming a pair of straight-set wins from Craig and Knoppe.

Craig recorded her second win of the day, as she competed at No. 2 and took down Julia Fernandes, 6-0, 6-4, before Knoppe collected a 6-2, 6-1 win at No. 5 over Halabi. Palacios produced the Flames final win of the day after capturing a three-set (5-7, 6-3, 6-1) win at No. 1 over Karoub to improve to 2-0 at the position.

UIC was faced with three tough losses to end the match, as Sharples dropped a 7-6 (5), 6-3 decision to Kulikovskaya at No. 4. Kuvakina had her match at No. 3 go to three sets after taking the first (7-5), but fell in the final two frames, 6-2 and 6-3, to Slizovskaya. The deciding match came at the No. 6 position, where Keti Mebukewas defeated by Strakhova, 5-7, 6-3 and 7-5.

The Flames will return to action Friday, April 12, to face Youngstown State at 12:05 pm. (CT) in Youngstown, Ohio, before heading to Cleveland, Ohio, to take on Cleveland State at 11 a.m. Saturday, April 13.

Detroit 4, UIC 3
1. Mariana Palacios (UIC) def. Chloe Karoub (DETROIT) 5-7, 6-3, 6-1
2. Haley Craig (UIC) def. Julia Fernandes (DETROIT) 6-0, 6-4
3. Irina Slizovskaya (DETROIT) def. Natalia Kuvakina (UIC) 5-7, 6-2, 6-3
4. Valery Kulikovskaya (DETROIT) def. Kathryn Sharples (UIC) 7-6 (5), 6-3
5. Jana Knoppe (UIC) def. Raina Halabi (DETROIT) 6-2, 6-1
6. Elena Strakhova (DETROIT) def. Keti Mebuke (UIC) 5-7, 6-3, 7-5

1. Haley Craig/Mariana Palacios (UIC) def. Elena Strakhova/Valery Kulikovskaya (DETROIT) 8-3
2. Nino Sujashvili/Irina Slizovskaya (DETROIT) def. Kathryn Sharples/Jana Knoppe (UIC) 8-4
3. Raina Halabi/Chloe Karoub (DETROIT) def. Natalia Kuvakina/Ann-Sophie Hahn (UIC) 8-6