Entering the weekend at 16-2 — the best start in program history — the Illinois Women’s Tennis squad ran in to a buzzsaw in Ann Arbor.
No. 24 Michigan was able to stymie the Illini to the tune of 4-0. This is only the Illini’s third loss this season, with two coming in Big Ten play and the other coming earlier this season against the current top-ranked team, North Carolina.
Both Jaclyn Switkes and Daniela Pedraza-Novak lost in straight sets to go along with two doubles losses. This is no upset for the Illini, as the Wolverines have been improving all season long and just this week jumped from No. 30 to No. 24 nationally. One big reason for Michigan’s grand jump is the fact that even after the No. 11-ranked team came to town, they still stand undefeated in Big Ten play.
After Saturday’s matchup, the Illini stood at 16-3 (5-2 Big Ten), while the Wolverines improved to 11-8 (7-0 Big Ten).
Thankfully, the Illini had a chance to improve their standing on Sunday. Behind a strong day for Sasha Belaya, who not only tallied a victory in doubles but also secured her sixth straight singles win at the 5 position, Illinois took down Michigan State, 4-1.
Not only did Belaya shine, but so did fellow freshman Mia Rabinowitz, who logged her seventh-straight singles victory with a two-set win over Emily Metcalf.
With the victory, Illinois improved to 17-3 on the season. The Illini will host Minnesota and Wisconsin next weekend to close out their Big Ten home schedule.