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    Oct. 11, 2012

    CHICAGO – Following stand-out performances at the Michigan State Invitational, the UIC women’s tennis team makes the short trip to Evanston, Ill., to compete at the Northwestern Invitational this weekend.  The three-day event is scheduled to get underway on Friday at 9 a.m. (CT) at the Combe Tennis Center.

    At the Michigan State Invitational on Oct. 5-7, the Flames combined for a singles record of 12-6 and split the doubles at 3-3.  Jana Knoppe, Kathryn Sharples and Keti Mebuke made it to their respective finals match, with Sharples coming away with the Draw D title.

    Sharples (Draw D) was able to go a perfect 4-0 on the weekend and take her second title of the fall season.  Taking out each of her opponents in straight sets, she swept past Ball State’s Courtney Earnest (6-3, 6-0), Marquette’s Vanessa Foltinger (6-4, 6-0), Toledo’s Chrissy Coffman (6-4, 6-0) and Purdue’s Claudia Escribens (6-1, 6-3) to claim the Draw D bracket.  Sharples later joined Mebuke in doubles to capture a win in the consolation round.

    Knoppe (Draw C) and Mebuke (Draw E) went 3-1 through finals.  Knoppe her first three matches in straight sets, defeating Dayton’s Maureen Stevens (6-1, 6-1), Wisconsin’s Lauren Burich (7-6, 6-4) and Marquette’s Aina Hernandez Soler (6-4, 6-4).  She took the first set in her final match with Akron’s Ksenia Berestetska, but ultimately fell 0-6, 6-3 (10-8).  Mebuke went in to take down Marquette’s Aleeza Kanner (6-0, 7-5), Miami’s Ana Rajkovic (1-6, 6-2, 6-1) and Toledo’s Silvia Carvajal (6-4, 6-4), before falling after three set with Marquette’s Laia Hernandez Soler (6-4, 6-7 (4), 10-3) in the final.

    Haley Craig (Draw A) took her first match against Cleveland State’s Alexandra Bush (6-7 (4), 6-3, 6-4), but fell in her next two into consolation.  Natalia Kuvakina (Draw B) went into the consolation round after losing her match to Ball State’s Courtney Wild (6-4, 6-2), where she went 1-1 with a win over Xavier’s Andrea Wolf (6-4, 6-1).  Craig and Kuvakina also combined in doubles and produced a 2-1 record through Draw A.

    In addition to Northwestern, the Flames are prepared to face several tough competitors over the next three days.  Expected to compete are teams from Iowa, DePaul, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Northern Iowa and Western Michigan.

    The field boasts seven athletes who were listed in the ITA Preseason Singles Rankings.  The Wildcats present Kate Turvy (No. 12), Brittany Wowchuk (No. 48) and Belinda Niu (No. 117), with Oklahoma’s Whitney Richie at No. 60, DePaul’s Jasmin King at No. 73 and Minnesota’s Alexa Palen at No. 84 and Natalia Pintusava at No. 93.  In doubles, Northwestern’s Nida Hamilton and Linda Abu Muchrefova hold place at No. 10, as Iowa’s Ruth Seaborne and Shelby Talcott received a tied ranking of No. 58.

    Check back to UICFlames.com for complete results and a recap of the Northwestern Invitational.