April 18, 2013
CHICAGO – The UIC women's tennis team (13-5, 5-1 HL) heads into its final match of the regular season Friday, when it travels to Valparaiso, Ind., to take on the Crusaders at 3 p.m. (CT) at the Valpo Tennis Complex. With a win, the Flames could clinch the No. 1 seed in the postseason and the first Horizon League regular-season title.
UIC is coming off of a pair of wins on April 12-13 against Youngstown State, 4-3, and Cleveland State, 5-2. Through the two matches, the Flames collected three wins in doubles and eight wins in singles.
Natalia Kuvakina and Ann-Sophie Hahn were able to go undefeated in doubles after taking an 8-4 win against the Penguins' Annina Brendel and Tijana Raicevic and an 8-6 win against the Vikings' Mathilde Orange and Nicole Janek. Against Youngstown State, Haley Craig and Mariana Palacios were able to take an 8-3 over Marta Burak and Margarita Sadovnikova to capture the doubles point.
Against the Penguins, Jana Knoppe, Kathryn Sharples and Keti Mebuke took singles wins to clinch the victory. Sharples defeated Carolyn Jesko, 6-0, 6-1, at No. 5 and Mebuke took down Brendel, 6-4, 6-4, at No. 6, before Knoppe came away with a 6-3, 5-7, 6-3 win at No. 4 against Lauren Hankle claim the victory.
In facing Cleveland State, Craig, Palacios, Knoppe, Sharples and Mebuke all pulled away for wins. Mebuke took the first win over Janek, 6-3, 6-4, at No. 6, then Palacios came in to take out Alex Power, 6-3, 6-4, at No. 2 before Sharples captured a 6-4, 6-3 win over Maria Lazaris at No. 5. Craig clinched the win with her 6-2, 7-6 (5) defeat of Orange at No. 1, while Knoppe collected a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 win against Kara Sherwood at No. 4.
Into Friday's match, the Flames have blanked Valparaiso, 7-0, in their last five meetings since the Crusaders joined the League in 2007. Valparaiso holds a 2-19 record this season and is 0-6 in the Horzion League, while it defeated Chicago State, 4-3, after falling to Youngstown State, 7-0, and Cleveland State, 7-0.