Saturday, April 16, 2011

Big Weekend in the Big Ten

Since I’ve switched to full time freelance, it’s financially impossible to spend all my time on tennis. The sport is still at the forefront of my mind and will always be included in my work, but times come up (like the last two weeks) when I just can’t report all that’s going on. 

I was back on the court  for the Illini women’s match against Michigan and will be back down at the Atkins Tennis Center for Michigan State this Sunday. 

Even though it looked like spring (and had been warm most of the week) it was a bit cool and very windy Friday, forcing the Michigan-Illinois match inside.  The Illini were down two players with Marisa Marisa Lambropoulos and Chelcie Abajian nursing injuries, and the Wolverines are ranked 10th in the country with a solid lineup so it was pretty clear from the start which way this match would go. Michigan’s Whitney Taney & Rika Tatsuno took No. 2 doubles rather quickly, and the point was completed  with Brooke Bolender & Denise Muresan (pictured left) win at No. 1.  It looked like Illinois would take the No. 3 match, but Breanne Smutko & Annie McCarthy couldn’t capitalize on the match points they had and fell,  8-7 (3).

Singles did not go any better for the home team as the Wolverine’s dominated every court.  The first to finish was Taney, who beat Allison Falkin (6-1,6-4) at No. 3.  Muresan set a new  record for Wolverine women with her 105th win, despite the fight of Amy Allin to the end. Michelle Suliahian clinched it at No. 6 over Leigh Finnegan.  It looked like Breanne Smutko might take a set at No. 4 for the Illini when she broke in the first, but she ended up dropping the match to Sam Crister.  The final match on the court was definitely the closest of all, with some long games and a break by Illinois Rachael White for a 5-4 lead in the second, but Brooke Bolender took it in the end, 6-2,7-5.

At the end of the weekend, I will wrap up the rest of the tennis matches.  In the meantime, you can also look for regular updates of matches around the conference on

P.S. While I was away, the Big Ten awarded Athlete of the Week honors to Northwestern senior Maria Mosolova April 5 & April 12.  On the men’s side,  Tobias Wernet of Minnesota, also a senior, and Ohio State junior Chase Buchanan took the awards respectively.
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