April 27, 2012
CHICAGO – Seeking its 16th consecutive conference championship, the UIC women’s tennis team (16-3/8-0 HL) makes its way to the Horizon League Championship in Indianapolis, April 27-29. With a first round bye, the No. 1 seeded Flames begin competition on Saturday at 8 a.m. (CT) against No. 4 Butler (8-14, 5-3 HL) at West Indy Racquet Club.
UIC earned the No. 1 seed for the 16th year in a row after going 16-3 on the season and 8-0 in the Horizon League. With their undefeated season, the Flames extended their current Horizon League win streak to 141, the longest streak in NCAA tennis history.
In Horizon League play this season, UIC went 44-4 in singles for a .917 winning percentage. Of the seven student-athletes who faced conference opponents, Linda Hricistova, Jana Knoppe, Mariya Kovaleva and Elisa Simonetti were undefeated. Hricistova went 1-0 and Knoppe went 6-0, as Kovaleva and Simonetti held a perfect 8-0 record. With yet another undefeated season for Kovaleva, she has gone 37-0 in her singles career against Horizon League foes. Additionally, Haley Craig, Kathryn Sharples and Teona Tsertsvadze all went 7-1 in the League.
Through doubles, the Flames were 21-3 (.875) against conference opponents. The tandem of Simonetti and Tsertsvadze were a perfect 8-0 in the Horizon League, while going 15-4 overall, 11-0 at No. 2. and ending the season on an 11-match win streak. At No. 1, the duo of Kovaleva and Craig went 6-2, as Hricistova combined with Knoppe to go 1-0 and Sharples for a 4-0 record. Knoppe and Sharples additionally paired together for a 2-0 conference record.
The Flames face Butler in the second round on Saturday. After the Bulldogs took on Wright State in the first round of competition, they came out on top to advance. In UIC’s previous matchup with Butler, the Flames were victorious with a 7-0 victory.
The Horizon League women’s tennis championship is scheduled to stream live on the Horizon League Network at 8 a.m. (CT) on Sunday. With the title on the line, the winner of UIC’s match with Butler faces the winner of Cleveland State’s second-round match with Detroit.