March 25, 2007
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The Michigan State women's tennis team picked up its first conference win of the season, defeating Illinois 5-2 on Sunday. The win marks the first Big Ten victory for first-year head coach Erica Perkins, and is the first time the Michigan State senior class has defeated Illinois. The Spartans improved their record to 11-4 (1-1 Big Ten), while the Illini dropped their season record to 4-9 (0-2 Big Ten).
"I'm very excited about the win," Perkins said. "The conference is definitely up this year, and I knew this would be a good opportunity for us.
"This was probably the best match we've played all year, so I couldn't be more excited. We played so well today it was unbelievable. Doubles was good from top to bottom. Pascale (Schnitzer) and (Christine) Bader were really tough today and they led us through it."
Michigan State began the day winning each of the three doubles matches to take a 1-0 lead heading into singles play. Seniors Sarah Andrews and Jessica Baron earned the first Spartan victory, defeating Momei Qu and Kristina Minor, 8-4.
Sophomore Ana Milosavljevic and senior Pascale Schnitzer backed it up with another MSU win at No. 2 to secure the doubles point for the team. Behind 5-0, the duo remained composed and rattled off six-straight games, eventually posting an 8-6 win over Shivani Dave and Alejandra MezaCuadro.
The Spartans quickly earned two singles victories, as Schnitzer and Milosavljevic each got the job done in two sets, putting MSU up 3-0. At No. 3 singles, Schnitzer came out with a 6-4 first set over Dave, and followed it with a 6-0 blanking in the second to earn her first conference victory of the season. Milosavljevic came out strong at No. 5, posting identical 6-4 first and second set wins over MezaCuadra.
Qu got the Illini on the board at No. 2, defeating Kebler in a tight 7-6 first set, followed by a 6-1 second set.
Despite a 3-1 Michigan State advantage it was still anyone's match as the final three matches were each decided in the third set.
At No. 1, Christine Bader came out strong winning the first set 6-4, but dropped the second set 4-6 to Fudge. In the third set, the two split the opening games to begin 1-1. Bader picked up the next two games, holding a 3-1 advantage, but dropped the next to put Fudge back within one at 3-2. Bader finished out strong, ending the third set with a 6-2 victory. The win snapped a five-match losing streak for the Spartans' top singles player, and was the decisive win for MSU in its first conference victory.
Jessica Baron dropped her first set, 4-6, at No. 4, but put herself in position for the win in the second set, defeating Minor 6-1. Baron took a 3-2 lead in the second set and never looked back, defeating Minor, 6-3, in the third set. With the win, Baron collected her 10th singles victory of the season, improving her record to 10-3.
At No. 6, MSU sophomore Marianne Eelens also dropped her first set, 4-6, but rallied in the second set for a 6-0 win to force a third set against Wang. Eelens fell back 1-2 in the opening games of the third set, but fought to regain control of the match and take a 4-3 lead. Wang evened things out at 4-all in the next game and then pulled off a 7-6 third set, posting the 5-2 final.
Michigan State will play host to Ohio State in its conference home opener on Friday at 3 p.m.