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    April 11, 2013

    CHICAGO – Following its first loss in 17 years to a conference opponent, the UIC women’s tennis team (11-5, 3-1 HL) gets set to face Youngstown State and Cleveland State in a pair of Horizon League matches this weekend. The Flames go up against the Penguins at 11:05 a.m. (CT) Friday at the Boardman Tennis Center in Youngstown, Ohio, before challenging the Vikings at noon Saturday at the Chagrin Valley Athletic Club in Chagrin Falls, Ohio.

    UIC returns to competition after suffering a 4-3 loss to Detroit on April 6 at the Flames Outdoor Tennis Courts. The Flames lost the doubles point and came up short in singles, as the Titans took three individual matches for the win.

    The long doubles win for the Flames came at No. 1, as Haley Craig and Mariana Palacios joined to take down Elena Strakhova and Valery Kulikovskaya, 8-3, and capture their eighth win of the dual season at the position.

    In singles, Palacios, Craig and Jana Knoppe came away with wins at their respective positions, while Detroit took matches at No. 3, 4 and 6. 

    Palacios had her match with Chloe Karoub at No. 1 go to three sets but was able to come out on top of a 5-7, 6-3, 6-1 final.  Craig won a quick match at No. 2 against Julia Fernandes, 6-0, 6-4, while Knoppe also took a straight-set win over Raina Halabi, 6-2, 6-1, at No. 5.

    After Natalia Kuvakina (No. 3) and Kathryn Sharples (No. 4) dropped their respective matches, the deciding point came at No. 6 where Keti Mebuke fell in the third set of her match with Strakhova, 5-7, 6-3, 7-5.

    In their last five regular-season meetings, UIC swept Youngstown State, 7-0, in all five matches. The Penguins enter into Friday’s match with a 12-8 record, 3-1 in the Horizon League, after splitting a pair of matches with a win over Green Bay, 6-1, and a loss to Milwaukee, 4-3.

    UIC has held Cleveland State to scoring no more than two points in their past four regular-season matches, including last year’s 6-1 defeat. Heading into Saturday’s competition, the Vikings are 9-9 overall and 3-1 in Horizon League play, having won their last two matches against Milwaukee, 4-3, and Green Bay, 7-0.