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    Jan. 11, 2013

    CHICAGO - The UIC women's tennis team is the unanimous favorite to capture its 17th-consecutive Horizon League Championship. The preseason poll, conducted by the League's head coaches, was released by HL officials Friday. The Flames will begin their quest next weekend, opening the 2013 campaign at the Purdue Hidden Dual in West Lafayette, Ind.

    The Flames earned all seven first-place votes to top the women's poll. Senior Haley Craig and junior Jana Knoppe will lead a squad that will have the challenge of replacing four-time Horizon League Player of the Year Mariya Kovaleva. UIC collected its 16th-consecutive Horizon League Championship last season, finishing the campaign with a No. 9 ranking in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association's (ITA) Midwest Region.

    The Flames will welcome a pair of newcomers, in Akron transfer Natalia Kuvakina and Keti Mebuke, a native of Tbilisi, Georgia.

    The 2013 Horizon League Men's and Women's Tennis Championships will be held in Indianapolis, April 26-28. The top six teams on both sides will reach the tournament, with the top two seeds receiving byes into the semifinals. The League's automatic bids to the NCAA Tournament will be decided on Sunday, April 28, with the Horizon League Network providing live coverage.