Illinois edges No. 9 Women's Tennis, 4-3
March 21, 2012
AUSTIN, Texas -- No. 9 Texas (9-5) picked up wins from Elizabeth Begley, Lina Padegimaite and Krista Damico, but Illinois (9-5) emerged with a 4-3 victory over the Longhorns Wednesday afternoon at UT's Penick-Allison Tennis Center.
Illinois won two of three doubles matches to claim the doubles point and assume a 1-0 lead. The Fighting Illini's Melissa Kopinski and Rachael White led off with an 8-4 win over UT's Padegimaite and Noel Scott at first doubles.
Texas followed with a tight victory at the second doubles slot. UT's Damico and Cierra Gaytan-Leach went into a tiebreaker against Illinois' Amy Allin and Marisa Lambropoulos, and Illinois set up three match-point opportunities with a 6-3 lead. But, Texas' Damico and Gaytan-Leach claimed the next five points to win the tiebreaker, 8-6 to win the match.
At third doubles, UT's Begley and Juliana Gajic and Illinois' Chelcie Abajian and Allison Falkin entered into a 6-6 tie before Illinois broke the Longhorns' serve and held serve to win the match, 8-6 to win the doubles point.
Illinois extended its lead at sixth singles, where Breanne Smutko defeated UT's Alex Martin, 6-0, 6-0. Texas cut into the lead at fourth singles, where Padegimaite posted an impressive 6-1, 6-1 victory over Illinois' Allin. The Illini extended their lead to 3-1 at second singles, where Kopinski defeated UT's Scott, 6-4, 6-4. Illinois clinched the win at third singles, where Lambropoulos outlasted Texas' Gaytan-Leach in three sets, 4-6, 6-4, 6-1.
At fifth singles, Texas' Begley dropped the first set to Illinois' White, 6-2 before overpowering White in the second set, 6-1. Begley broke for a 3-1 lead in the third set and held off White to win 6-4 and produce her eighth win in her last nine matches.
Texas' Damico cruised to 6-2 first-set win at first singles over Illinois' 92nd-ranked Falkin before Falkin took the second set, 7-5. Damico broke Falkin's serve to take a 3-2 third-set lead before Falkin broke Damico and held serve to take a 4-3 lead. But, Damico claimed the next three games to win the third set and the match, 6-4 to preserve her 11th consecutive win.
Texas will take some time off before resuming Big 12 Conference play on Friday, March 30 when it hosts Kansas.