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    April 21, 2012

    CHICAGO –While recognizing its senior class of Linda Hricistova, Mariya Kovaleva, Elisa Simonetti and Teona Tsertsvadze at the Flames Outdoor Tennis Courts on Saturday, the UIC women's tennis team (15-3/8-0 HL) captured its fifth 7-0 sweep against Horizon League opponents when it took down Valparaiso (4-17/0-8 HL) in the final conference match of the regular season.  Extending their Horizon League win streak to 141, the win also marked the Flames’ 13th consecutive victory this season.

    “It was a nice way to finish our Horizon League season,” head coach Shannon Tully said.  “I think we did a good job stepping up, executing our game plan and finishing another solid match.”

    UIC came out strong from the start as they took all three doubles matches for the first point of the day.  Kathryn Sharples and Jana Knoppe grabbed the first win, as they went up early at No. 3 against Brittany O'Reilly and Angelina Goheen and held on to take the match, 8-0.  Kovaleva and Haley Craig combined at No. 1 to defeat Kristin Zakiewicz and Megan Barthels, 8-3, and capture their 20th doubles win of the season.  At No. 2, Tsertsvadze and Simonetti battled with Stephanie York and Kaitlyn Hamel before coming out on top, 8-3, to notch their 10th consecutive victory.

    The Flames were dominant on all six singles courts, finishing each match in straight sets and holding Valpo to no more than one win in each set.  The team started off with 6-0, 6-0 sweeps, as Knoppe upended O’Reilly at No. 5 and Sharples took out Goheen at No. 6.  Routing their opponents to 6-1, 6-0 losses, Kovaleva took down Barthels at No. 1, Tsertsvadze defeated Hamel at No. 2 and Simonetti came in at No. 4 to capture the win over Zakiewicz.  Coming in at No. 3, Craig overcame York to take the match 6-1, 6-1.

    Prior to the start of the match, UIC honored Hricistova, Kovaleva, Simonetti and Tsertsvadze with awards recognizing their time and commitment to the women's tennis program.

    “The seniors have been a real key to all of the wins that we have had and continue to be the main reason why we are getting it done,” Tully added.  “We have some great players that have stepped up, shown their leadership and have led us to many victories this season, including today.”

    The Flames return to their home courts tomorrow, Sunday, April 22, to take on No. 75 Akron in their final match of the regular season.  The first serve is set to get underway at 10 a.m. (CT).


    UIC 7, Valparaiso 0
    Doubles:

    1. Kovaleva/Craig (UIC) def. Zakiewicz/Barthels (VALPO) – 8-2
    2. Tsertsvadze/Simonetti (UIC) def. York/Hamel (VALPO) – 8-3
    3. Knoppe/Sharples (UIC) def. O’Reilly/Goheen (VALPO) – 8-0
    Order of finish: 3, 1, 2

    Singles:

    1. Mariya Kovaleva (UIC) def. Megan Barthels (VALPO) – 6-1, 6-0
    2. Teona Tsertsvadze (UIC) def. Kaitlyn Hamel (VALPO) – 6-1, 6-0
    3. Haley Craig (UIC) def. Stephanie York (VALPO) – 6-1, 6-1
    4. Elisa Simonetti (UIC) def. Kristin Zakiewicz (VALPO) – 6-1, 6-0
    5. Jana Knoppe (UIC) def. Brittany O’Reilly (VALPO) – 6-0, 6-0
    6. Kathryn Sharples (UIC) def. Angelina Goheen (VALPO) – 6-0, 6-0
    Order of finish: 5, 6, 1, 3, 4, 2