22-6. Absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. That is the message for the Illini Women’s Tennis Team after a 4-2 defeat at the hands of Texas Tech this past weekend. The culmination of one of the best season for the program, the Illini battled hard all season long and look set to dominate the future of not only the Big Ten, but all of college tennis.
On Friday, the Illini defeated a very good Princeton team 4-3 in thrilling fashion. To start the day the Illini dropped the doubles point but followed it up with wins by Emilee Duong, Mia Rabinowitz and Asuka Kawai. After two straight Princeton victories, the match was tied at three. Enter Junior Daniela Pedraza-Novak. Locked up at one set each, Pedraza-Novak and Nicole Kalhorn for Princeton battled back and forth for the match with Pedraza-Novak coming out on top 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.
Following their Friday victory, the Illini were set to face regional host Texas Tech on Saturday. After securing two points on the doubles court, the Red Raiders took Illinois to task. Mia Rabinowitz took a loss for the first time in 14 matches, and following losses by Jaclyn Switkes, Asuka Kawai, and Sasha Belaya, the Illini went on to fall to Texas Tech 4-2.
The Red Raiders are one of the best squads in the country. This defeat is nothing for the Illini to hang their heads over. Illinois valiantly overachieved this season and look set up nicely for 2019 and beyond.
In regards to the 2018 season, Illinois tied the mark for most wins in a season with 22 and earned the highest winning percentage in program history (.786). Head Coach Evan Clark has quickly turned this program into one of the best in the Big Ten and, after earning Big Ten Coach of the Year honors, should be poised to challenge for a repeat in 2019.
Congratulations are in order for the Illini. From all of us here at The Champaign Room, great job this season!