April 18, 2012
CHICAGO – The UIC women’s tennis team (13-3/6-0 HL) heads into three matches over the next four days to wrap regular season play. Beginning Thursday, the Flames face Milwaukee (12-7/5-1 HL) on the road at Le Club Sports Club at 5 p.m. (CT), then come home to host Valparaiso (4-16/0-7 HL) on Saturday for Senior Day at 10 a.m. (CT) and Akron (20-2) on Sunday at 10 a.m. (CT) at the Flames Outdoor Tennis Courts.
UIC has won 11-straight dual matches, the most since joining the Division I ranks, after defeating Cleveland State, 5-2, on Saturday, April 14, and Youngstown State, 7-0, on Sunday, April 15. The Flames came away with the doubles point in both matches, before taking four-of-six in singles against the Vikings and six-of-six versus the Penguins.
Teona Tsertsvadze and Elisa Simonetti combined at No. 2 to go 2-0 against CSU and YSU opponents, while Kathryn Sharples and Linda Hricistova took one over Cleveland State’s Nicole Janek and Kara Sherwood, 9-7, before winning by default against Youngstown State. Mariya Kovaleva and Haley Craig (No. 1) went 1-1 on the weekend, dropping their first to the Vikings and coming back against the Penguins to defeat Marta Burak and Carolyn Jesko, 8-7 (2).
In singles against Cleveland State, UIC took wins at No. 1, 2, 4 and 5, with two of those matches going to three sets. Tsertsvadze took down Maria Lazaris, 6-3, 6-3, at No. 2, with Jana Knoppe coming in at No. 5 to defeat Janek, 6-2, 6-2. Kovaleva, positioned at No. 1, held on to her match with Catrine Bjerrehus, going 6-1, 2-6, 10-8, while Simonetti dropped her first and came back in the second and third in a 1-6, 6-2, 6-1 final to Alexandra Bush at No. 4.
The Flames were able to sweep Youngstown State in their singles matches, winning in straight sets. Knoppe overpowered Jennifer Moore, 6-0, 6-1, at No. 5, with Simonetti taking down Gimena Puppo, 6-1, 6-1, at No. 4 and Craig topping Jesko, 6-2, 6-1, at No. 3. Kovaleva (No. 1) and Tsertsvadze (No. 2) each defeated their opponents by finals of 7-6 (3), 6-4 and 7-5, 6-4, respectively.
During the past four regular-season meetings, the Flames have defeated Milwaukee by 7-0 margins. The Panthers have won their last two matches on April 14 over Butler, 6-1, and on April 15 against Wright State, 6-1,. They currently sit in second place in the Horizon League, with a 5-1 record against conference opponents.
Since Valparaiso joined the conference in 2007, UIC has swept the Crusaders, 7-0, in all four regular-season matches. Currently on an 11-match losing streak, their most recent loss came on Tuesday, April 17, in a 6-3 decision against Indiana Wesleyan. Prior to facing Valparaiso on Saturday, UIC is set to honor its four seniors, Hricistova, Kovaleva, Simonetti and Tsertsvadze.
The Zips lead the all-time series with the Flames, 3-0. With a 20-2 record, Akron has defeated UIC’s conference-foes Wright State, Cleveland State and Youngstown State by 7-0 decisions this season. Before taking on the Flames on Sunday, the Zips face Northern Illinois on Saturday.