Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Few Surprises in Busy Conference Weekend

I was back at the University of Illinois on Sunday (see here for the story from Friday) for the women’s match against Michigan State. It was a different story this time.

The Illini women took the doubles point at No. 1, where Rachael White and Allison Falkin defeated  Amy Barton and Marina Bohrer to break the 1-1 match tie. Singles started out pretty tight, with four first sets to Illinois, and some closes matches.  Annie McCarthy brought the home team up to 2-0 with a 6-2,6-3 win over Dana Guentert at No. 3, and Leigh Finnegan followed at No.5 defeating Nicole Herzog , 6-1,6-1, but it would be awhile before the Illini would score again.
Michigan State picked up a point at the first court from Amy Barton, who defeated Amy Allin (above) in a match that looked much closer than the 6-0,6-4 final score. In fact, the second set had been at 5-1 before Allin won three straight games and put up a fight in the final one. The clinch would come a little while later from Falkin, who took a strange three-setter (2-6,6-1,6-1) over Marina Bohrer.  The final two matches, which were close ones throughout, were won by Illinois’ Rachael White and Breanne Smutko.

The Illini men, who had taken out Michigan 5-2 on Saturday, also beat Michigan State on Sunday with the same score. The Wolverines defeated Iowa on Sunday, 5-2, making it a bad weekend all around for the Hawkeyes, who lost to the Spartans the day before. Also dropping two matches were Northwestern, 5-2 to Indiana and 4-3 to Purdue, and Penn State, 6-1 to Minnesota and Wisconsin.

The Northwestern women, ranked No. 15 in the country, were victorious over Indiana on Saturday, and then took Purdue the next day with the same 6-1 finish, despite an upset over Maria Mosolova by Boilmakers’ Jennifer Rabot. The Iowa women split the weekend with a win to Michigan State on Friday (4-3) and a loss to Michigan on Sunday (7-0). The Minnesota women had a rough weekend with a close 4-3 loss to Penn State on Friday followed by a 6-1 defeat by Ohio State on Sunday. The Buckeyes also walked away 5-2 over Wisconsin to start the weekend.

The big news in the Big Ten?  The Indiana men. They continued a streak that has them undefeated in the conference, a record held only by Ohio State, who shutout Minnesota and Wisconsin over the weekend. The tie for first place won’t stand for long as the Hoosiers and the Buckeyes will face each other at Ohio State on Friday, April 22nd.
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