Singles play leads Virginia to win
URBANA, Ill. -- No. 26 Virginia remained undefeated this season, topping No. 28 Illinois 5-2 Sunday afternoon at the Atkins Tennis Center. The Cavaliers improve to 4-0 this season, while the Fighting Illini fall to 2-4.
Virginia fell behind 1-0 by dropping the doubles point for the first time this season. Lindsey Hardenbergh and Erin Vierra gave the Cavaliers an early advantage with an 8-5 win at No. 2 over Chelcie Abajian and Breanne Smutko. The Illini drew even when Marisa Lambropoulos and Amy Allin defeated Maria Fuccillo and Rashmi Teltumbde 8-6 at No. 3. The opening point came down to No. 1 doubles, in a matchup of two top-15 teams. The 15th-ranked Illini team of Rachael White and Allison Falkin edged tenth-ranked Emily Fraser and Hana Tomljanovic in a tiebreaker, 9-8 (12-10), to give Illinois the early lead in the dual match.
In singles, the Cavaliers rebounded by winning the first set in five of six matches. Virginia drew even in the match as Caryssa Peretz completed a 6-3, 6-1 win against Falkin at No. 6. Hardenbergh gave Virginia a 2-1 lead with her 6-0, 6-4 win at No. 2 over Smutko. The Cavalier lead was extended to 3-1 as Fuccillo won at No. 5, defeating Lambropoulos 6-0, 1-6, 6-1. Illinois cut that advantage in half as Abajian topped Vierra 6-2, 6-3 at No. 4 to make the score 3-2. Tomjanovic clinched the Cavalier victory with her win at No. 3, where she defeated Allin 6-3, 7-6. Fraser added a three-set win against White at the top spot to make the final score 5-2.
"I was really proud of how we responded after dropping a very competitive and intense doubles point," said head coach Mark Guilbeau. "We came out and played some of the best singles we have played all year. To ultimately win this match 5-2, after losing the doubles point, says a lot about this group of players. I am excited about what is ahead for this team."