April 25, 2014
Detroit 4, UIC 1
ANN ARBOR, Mich. – The UIC women’s tennis team’s tremendous run of 17-consecutive conference titles came to an end on Friday. The Flames were eliminated in the opening round of the Horizon League Championship following a 4-1 loss to Detroit at the University of Michigan Varsity Tennis Center.
Detroit got out to the early lead after capturing the doubles point. Natalia Kuvakina and Keti Mebuke fell to Valeryia Kulikovskaya and Anna Davydova, 8-6, before Kathryn Sharples and Mariana Palacios tied it with an 8-6 victory over Viktoria Laskutova and Nino Sujashvili at No. 1.
The final match was decided at No. 2, where Jana Knoppe and Ann-Sophie Hahn dropped an 8-5 decision to Irina Slizovskaya and Julia Fernandes.
Heading into singles, Knoppe captured the first and only victory for the Flames after taking a straight-set win over Kulikovskaya, 6-3, 6-2, to tie former standout Mariya Kovaleva with 92 all-time singles victories.
The Titans came back and won three consecutive matches to take the win, as Palacios suffered a 6-3, 6-4 loss at No. 2 to Slizovskaya, Mebuke fell in her third set at No. 5 to Davydova, 7-5, 4-6, 6-1, and Kuvakina was retired in her second set at No. 4 against Sujashvili.
Knoppe, Kuvakina, Palacios and Sharples conclude their careers at UIC after combining with the Flames to go 8-13 and produce a dual record of 64-60, 32-16 HL, in singles and 24-31, 12-6 HL, in doubles. Knoppe led all players with a singles tally of 23-4 and put her name in the record book with 92 career wins, while Sharples moved into ninth place with 67 wins.