Women's Tennis Advances To Championship

Jana Knoppe
Jana Knoppe

April 28, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS – With a 4-0 win over No. 4 seed Butler on Saturday at West Indy Racquet Club, the No. 1 UIC women’s tennis team moves on to face No. 2 Cleveland State in the title match of the Horizon League Championship on Sunday.  Due to weather, the Championship match is pushed to 9 a.m. (CT) at North Central High School and can be seen live on the Horizon League Network.

“We were ready for a good opponent today,’ head coach Shannon Tully said.  “Butler always steps up and competes hard, especially during the tournament.  Haley (Craig) and Mariya (Kovaleva) got some revenge on Bulter's No. 1 doubles team today after losing to them earlier in the season, which was nice to see.  Linda (Hricistova) and Jana (Knoppe) got up on their opponents and finished with a decisive 8-1 win at No. 3.  All of our singles players came out strong and we got three quick wins, which was great to see.  We are excited to be in the finals tomorrow and are looking forward to defending our title against Cleveland State.”

While UIC and Butler had four of its matches go unfinished, the Flames were able to pull away with two wins in doubles and three singles wins to capture the victory and take their 142nd consecutive Horizon League win.

In doubles, Mariya Kovaleva and Haley Craig combined at their standard No. 1 position and came away with an 8-5 win over Stephanie McLoughlin and Gabrielle Rubenstein.  Jana Knoppe and Linda Hricistova took the second win for UIC as they took down Kahfi King and Kate Panawash, 8-1, at No. 3.  Teona Tsertsvadze and Elisa Simonetti’s match with Caroline Hedrick and Ashley Breitenback went unfinished at No. 2 after going up to 7-3.

The Flames captured their three singles wins in straight-set matches at No. 3, 4 and 5.  Craig went up at No. 3 to defeat Rubenstein in a 6-1, 6-3 decision.  Knoppe came out at No. 5 to take her first set 6-2 and blank Andgelina Qin, 6-0, in the second.  At No. 6, Kathryn Sharples shut out her first set with Laura Shull, 6-0, and came away in the second at 6-2.  Kovaleva (No. 1), Tsertsvadze (No. 2) and Simonetti (No. 4) each had their respective matches go unfinished.

Seeking their 16th consecutive conference title, UIC hopes to make a repeat of its match from earlier in the season with Cleveland State.  The Flames were able to come out on top of a 5-2 decision after taking two-of-three in doubles and four singles matches.  The Vikings advanced to the Championship after they were able to fend off Detroit and come away with a 4-0 win in their round-two matchup.

UIC 4, Butler 0

1. Kovaleva/Craig (UIC) def. McLoughlin/Rubenstein (BU) – 8-5
2. Tsertsvadze/Simonetti (UIC) vs. Hedrick/Breitenback (BU) – 7-3 unfinished
3. Knoppe/Hricistova (UIC) def. King/Panawash (BU) – 8-1


1. Mariya Kovaleva (UIC) vs. Caroline Hedrick (BU) – 3-3 unfinished
2. Teona Tsertsvadze (UIC) vs. Stephanie McLoughlin (BU) – 6-4, 1-2 unfinished
3. Haley Craig (UIC) def. Gabrielle Rubenstein (BU) – 6-1, 6-3
4. Elisa Simonetti (UIC) vs. Cam Thompson (BU) – 6-1, 5-2 unfinished
5. Jana Knoppe (UIC) def. Angelina Qin (BU) – 6-2, 6-0
6. Kathryn Sharples (UIC) def. Laura Shull (BU) – 6-0, 6-2