INDIANAPOLIS — On Saturday, Cleveland State gave UIC a run for its money, but the Flames took care of business, capturing their 15th consecutive Horizon League women’s tennis title 4-1 at the North Central High School tennis courts. The victory gives UIC the automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament, as it won for the 133rd consecutive time against Horizon League competition.
The team helped coach Shannon Tully improve to 100-0 in matches against Horizon League opponents, while Mariya Kovaleva continued her unbeaten run for a third consecutive year of Horizon League play. Cleveland State, which advanced to the league final for the first time, put up a fight, threatening to push the match to its limit before Kovaleva provided the clinching points.
The Flames jumped out from the start, with Kovaleva and Elisa Simonetti putting UIC on the board with an 8-5 triumph at No. 1 doubles. Teona Tsertsvadze and Ilinca Cristescu followed soon after with an 8-6 decision at No. 2, giving UIC a 1-0 lead before singles play.
Needing just three wins to pick up its 15th conseuctive title, Linda Hricistova got the ball rolling for UIC at No. 6, rolling 6-1, 6-3. After Simonetti made it 3-0 with a 6-3, 6-4 triumph at No. 4, Cleveland State notched a tally at No. 2 when Alex Bush captured a straight set 6-1, 6-2 win at No. 2.
The Vikings pushed matches at No. 3 and No. 5 into the third set, but Kovaleva provided the capper, picking up three breaks in the second set to down Catrine Bjerrehus 7-5, 6-2.