No. 38 Women's Tennis Upset by No. 59 Illinois at Home, 5-2
April 14, 2013
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - No. 38 Penn State (13-6, 3-6) was unable to overcome No. 59 Illinois (12-9, 5-4) at home Sunday afternoon, falling 5-2. For the second straight match the Nittany Lions missed the doubles point and only managed two victories in singles.
Illinois were the first to strike in doubles winning at No. 3. Audrey O'Connor and Breanne Smutko went up quick 7-2, before Marie-Frederique Bedard and Jacqueline Zuhse made a spirited run to pull within one at 7-6. O'Connor and Smutko were able to hold on in the end winning the next game putting Illinois up 1-0 in the doubles contest.
Moments later Petra Januskova and Chelsea Utting tied it back up at one point each when they knocked off their second ranked duo of the weekend. They topped Rachael White and Melissa Kopinski, the No. 27 ranked doubles team in the nation, 8-6.
The Nittany Lions dropped the deciding doubles match to Illinois at No. 2 allowing the Fighting Illini to get the first strike in the match. With the match tied 4-4, Allison Falkin and Misia Kedzierski won the final four games to get the victory over Carmen Sandor and Devan McCluskey, 8-4.
Illinois went up 3-0 in the match after winning two matches almost simultaneously. At No. 3 Smutko knocked off Zuhse 6-4, 6-1 while Falkin came from behind in the second set to top Utting in the tiebreaker to win 6-1, 7-6 (7-3). The No. 2 match featured two regionally ranked players with Utting ranked No. 15 in the Atlantic and Falkin ranked No. 6 in the Midwest.
Bedard got the Nittany Lions on the board next winning at No. 6 against O'Connor. Bedard won the final two sets handedly to come from behind and win the match 0-6, 6-1, 6-2. After winning the first set McCluskey couldn't hang on and White won the match which clinched the victory for Illinois, 4-6, 6-0, 6-0.
Januskova gave Penn State their second point of the match winning her fourth match against a ranked opponent on the weekend and second of the match. She bested No. 117 Melissa Kopinski 7-6 (7-5), 6-3 to make the score 4-2.
The No. 5 match was the last to finish with the Fighting Illini's Kedzierski putting Illinois in front 5-2. After Sandor won the first set, Kedzierski took the final two to win the match, 4-6, 6-3, 6-3. The Nittany Lions won six matches over their weekend series with five of them coming against ranked opponents.
Penn State will travel to Ann Arbor, Mich. for their match against the Wolverines on Friday before returning home to close out the regular season against Michigan State on Sunday. The match in Michigan is slated for 3 p.m. Senior day against Michigan State is set for 11 a.m. at Sarni Tennis Center.