Women's Tennis Falls To No. 15 Michigan In NCAA First Round

Elisa Simonetti
Elisa Simonetti

May 11, 2012

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - The UIC women's tennis team brought its season to a close on Friday in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.  After capturing their 16th-consecutive Horizon League Championship and making their 14th-straight NCAA appearance, the Flames fell in a 4-0 decision to No. 15 Michigan at the Varsity Tennis Center.

"I thought we competed well today," head coach Shannon Tully said.  "Michigan is a tough opponent, and a tough opponent to beat, but we pushed them and I felt some of our matches were closer than the scores indicated.  It was a decent day, I think we held our own and I was happy that we had several people, once the match was clinched, hanging in and staying close with their opponent."

Through play in doubles, Michigan came out with the first point.  The Wolverines took the match at No. 2, as Mimi Nguyen and Michelle Sulahian broke Teona Tsertsvadze and Elisa Simonetti's 12-match win streak with an 8-1 defeat.  Mariya Kovaleva and Haley Craig faced the nationally-ranked No. 11 duo of Emina Bektas and Brooke Bolender at No. 1, but ultimately fell in an 8-2 final.

Jana Knoppe and Linda Hricistova held a close match with Kristen Dodge and Sarah Lee at No. 3, having a slight edge on the duo, but left their match unfinished.

In singles, the Flames were faced with two nationally-ranked competitors.  Kovaleva went up at No. 1 against No. 12 Bektas, but fell 6-2, 6-0, as Tsertsvadze's match with No. 93 Bolender at No. 2 went unfinished after Bolender led 6-3, 4-4.  Craig went head-to-head with Nguyen at No. 3, going down in a 6-1, 6-3 decision, while Kathryn Sharples was positioned with Sulahian at No. 6 and was defeated 6-3, 6-3.

At No. 4, Simonetti battled with Lee as she came back from going down in the first set, 6-2, to take the second, 6-3, but was ultimately left stranded as the match went unfinished.  Knoppe's match at No. 5 with Dodge also went unfinished, after Dodge led 6-4, 2-1.

Seniors Hricistova, Kovaleva, Simonetti and Tsertsvadze wrap their careers at UIC after combining with the team to produce an 18-4 overall record this season.  The Flames extended their streaks in the Horizon League, taking their 16th-consecutive title and winning their past 143 matches against conference foes.  The team also set a school record this season, having won 16-straight matches.

"It's great to compete in the NCAA and even though we didn't advance, we had a great season," Tully added.  "We had four seniors that we will miss next year and we look forward to the success with our new additions."

NCAA Div. I Women's Tennis Tournament
First Round
UIC vs. No. 15 Michigan (May 11, 2012)
No. 15 Michigan 4, UIC 0
May 11, 2012 at Ann Arbor, Mich.


1. No. 11 Bektas/Bolender (U-M) def. Kovaleva/Craig (UIC) - 8-2
2. Nguyen/Sulahian (U-M) def. Tsertsvadze/Simonetti (UIC) - 8-1
3. Dodge/Lee (U-M) vs. Knoppe/Hricistova (UIC) - 4-5 unfinished
Order of finish: 2, 1

1. No. 12 Emina Bektas (U-M) def. Mariya Kovaleva (UIC) - 6-2, 6-0
2. No. 93 Brooke Bolender (U-M) vs. Teona Tsertsvadze (UIC) - 6-3, 4-4 unfinished
3. Mimi Nguyen (U-M) def. Haley Craig (UIC) - 6-1, 6-3
4. Sarah Lee (U-M) vs. Elisa Simonetti (UIC) - 6-2, 3-6, 1-1 unfinished
5. Kristen Dodge (U-M) vs. Jana Knoppe (UIC) - 6-4, 2-1 unfinished
6. Michelle Sulahian (U-M) def. Kathryn Sharples (UIC) - 6-3, 6-3
Order of finish: 1, 3, 6