Women's Tennis Shines At Michigan State Invitational

Jana Knoppe
Jana Knoppe

Oct. 7, 2012

EAST LANSING, Mich. - The UIC women's tennis team faced tough competition as they concluded play at the Michigan State Invitational on Sunday.  Kathryn Sharples came away with her second championship in as many invitationals when she took the final of the Draw D bracket, while Jana Knoppe and Keti Mebuke also made it to their respective finals.

"We had a great showing at Michigan State this weekend in singles," head coach Shannon Tully said.  "Kathryn Sharples, Jana Knoppe, and Keti Mebuke really got some hard-fought wins to make it into the finals of each of their flights.  Kathryn has done a great job all fall.  She stepped it up all weekend and especially today, getting an impressive win over a solid Purdue opponent.  Although the matches didn't go our way in the finals of the other flights, I can't complain about two close losses to good opponent.  We will keep pushing forward with a focus on doubles and look forward to a high level tournament next weekend at Northwestern."

On day one of competition, were able to go 4-1 through the first round of their respective draws.  Haley Craig (Draw A) defeated Horizon League-opponent Alexandra Bush of Cleveland State after going 6-7 (4), 6-3, 6-4, as Knoppe (Draw C) kept charge of her match with Maureen Stevens of Dayton with a 6-1, 6-1 win.  Sharples (Draw D) went up with Courtney Earnest of Ball State to take the match 6-3, 6-0, with Mebuke (Draw E) coming in to take out Aleeza Kanner of Marquette in a 6-0, 7-5 final.  Natalia Kuvakina (Draw B) was unable to come out of her match with Courtney Wild of Ball State, dropping 6-4, 6-2.

Heading into day two, Craig faced Michigan State's Marina Bohrer, but fell 7-6, 6-1 and moved into consolation, where she dropped a close match with Ball State's Ayaka Terashi, 6-7, 7-6 (1).  Kuvakina held on in her match with Akron's Angelika Jogasuria, but ultimately went down 7-5, 7-5 before coming out on top of Xavier's Andrea Wolf, 6-4, 6-1.

Knoppe, Sharples and Mebuke went into Saturday and came away to advance to the final of each of their respective draws.  Defeating Wisconsin's Lauren Burich 7-6, 6-4, Knoppe advanced to take down Marquette's Aina Hernandez Sober, 6-4, 6-4.  Sharples took out Marquette's Vanessa Foltinger, 6-4, 6-0, and went on to defeat Toledo's Chrissy Coffman, 6-4, 6-0.  Mebuke came back from her first set with Miami (Ohio)'s Ana Rajkovic to win 1-6, 6-2, 6-1 and went on to take a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Toledo's Silvia Carvajal.

On the final day of competition, Sharples faced Purdue's Claudia Escribens in the Draw D final and was able to come away with the match in a straight-set 6-1, 6-3 win to take her second title of the fall season.  Knoppe and Mebuke put up a fight in their respective final matches.  Knoppe blanked Akron's Ksenia Berestetska on the first set, but couldn't hang on in the 0-6, 6-3 (10-8) final.  Mebuke went to three with Marquette's Laia Hernandez Soler, coming back in the second before falling 6-4, 6-7 (4), 10-3.

The pairing of Craig and Kuvakina competed in the Draw A doubles bracket.  The duo came away with an 8-5 win on Friday against Ellen Folkers and Nicole Janek of Cleveland State.  Competing on Saturday, they faced Prang Pantusart and Jogasuria of Akron, but fell 8-3.  Moving on to the consolation round, they bested Kally Alkire and Alex Brinker of Xavier in an 8-3 final, with their final match of consolation not being played.

Sharples and Mebuke went into Draw B doubles, but were unable to outlast Akron's Berestetska and Signe Lazdina, falling 8-4 to move to consolation.  They came out on top of their match on Saturday against IPFW's Theresa Neumeyr and Miloslava Shustova with an 8-6 win.  Facing Cleveland State's Alex Power and Maria Lazaris, the pair dropped their match, 8-6, ultimately ending play at the tournament.

The Flames move on to compete in their third invite of the fall at the Northwestern Invitational in Evanston, Ill., on Friday.

Draw A Singles

Haley Craig (UIC) def. Alexandra Bush (CSU) 6-7 (4), 6-3, 6-4
Marina Bohrer (MSU) def. Haley Craig (UIC) 7-6, 6-1
Ayaka Terashi (BSU) def. Haley Craig (UIC) 6-7, 7-6 (1)
Haley Craig (UIC) vs. Hannah Berner (UW) DNP

Draw B Singles
Courtney Wild (BSU) def. Natalia Kuvakina (UIC) 6-4, 6-2
Angelika Jogasuria (AK) def. Natalia Kuvakina (UIC) 7-5, 7-5
Natalia Kuvakina (UIC) def. Andrea Wolf (XU) 6-4, 6-1
Natalia Kuvakina (UIC) vs. Pia Rygh (TOL) DNP

Draw C Singles
Jana Knoppe (UIC) def. Maureen Stevens (UD) 6-1, 6-1
Jana Knoppe (UIC) def. Lauren Burich (UW) 7-6, 6-4
Jana Knoppe (UIC) def. Aina Hernandez Sober (MU) 6-4, 6-4
Ksenia Berestetska (AK) def. Jana Knoppe (UIC) 0-6, 6-3 (10-8)

Draw D Singles
Kathryn Sharples (UIC) def. Courtney Earnest (BSU) 6-3, 6-0
Kathryn Sharples (UIC) def. Vanessa Foltinger (MU) 6-4, 6-0
Kathryn Sharples (UIC) def. Chrissy Coffman (TOL) 6-4, 6-0
Kathryn Sharples (UIC) def. Claudia Escribens (PUR) 6-1, 6-3

Draw E Singles
Keti Mebuke (UIC) def. Aleeza Kanner (MU) 6-0, 7-5
Keti Mebuke (UIC) def. Ana Rajkovic (MIA) 1-6, 6-2, 6-1
Keti Mebuke (UIC) def. Silvia Carvajal (TOL) 6-4, 6-4
Laia Hernandez Soler (MU) def. Keti Mebuke (UIC) 6-4, 6-7 (4), 10-3

Draw A Doubles
Craig/Kuvakina (UIC) def. Folkers/Janek (CSU) 8-5
Pantusart/Jogasuria (AK) def. Craig/Kuvakina (UIC) 8-3
Craig/Kuvakina (UIC) def. Alkire/Brinker (XU) 8-3
Craig/Kuvakina (UIC) vs. Pimienta/Gebes (MU) DNP

Draw B Doubles
Berestetska/Lazdina (AK) def. Sharples/Mebuke (UIC) 8-4
Sharples/Mebuke (UIC) def. Neumeyr/Shustova (IPFW) 8-6
Power/Lazaris (CSU) def. Sharples/Mebuke (UIC) 8-6
Sharples/Mebuke (UIC) vs. Hornbarger/Boeckman (UD) DNP