April 21, 2013
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The No. 27 Purdue women's tennis team beat Illinois for the first time since 2007 on Sunday. The Boilermakers beat the No. 47 Fighting Illini 5-2.
Purdue (16-4, 8-3 B1G) clinched a fourth-place finish for the Big Ten season. That finish is up one spot from last year when the team finished 6-5 in conference play. It is the best finish since 2011 when the team tied for third in the regular season. The eight conference wins is the most since 1998 when the team was 8-2 in the Big Ten.
The Boilermakers had to rally on Sunday as they lost the doubles point to start the afternoon. Illinois' (13-10, 6-5) Misia Kedzierski and Allison Falkin knocked off Lynda Xepoleas and Daniela Vidal, 8-2. The No. 25 duo in the country of Melissa Kopinski and Rachael White defeated the No. 27 pair of Mara Schmidt and Krisztina Kapitany, 8-5, to clinch the point.
Gisella Pere helped get things going for the Old Gold and Black in singles. The senior took down Audrey O'Connor, 6-2, 6-2, at No. 6 to tie the score at one. Next was Tess Bernard-Feigenbaum. The freshman rebounded from Friday's loss to beat Breanne Smutko, 6-4, 6-4, at No. 4. Illinois then tied the score at two with a win at No. 3. White held on to beat Vidal in a three-setter, 6-0, 2-6, 6-3.
From there it was all Purdue.
Xepoleas upset the No. 102 ranked singles player in the nation, Falkin. The Purdue sophomore played one of her best matches this season as she won at No. 2, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4. Next was Schmidt as the junior clinched the match for Purdue. She beat the No. 109 singles player, Kopinski, at the top spot, 6-4, 1-6, 6-4. Kapitany wrapped up the match with a comeback win at No. 5. After she took the first set 6-0 over Kedzierski, the freshman dropped the second set, 4-6. In the third, she trailed 5-4 before rallying to win, 7-5, and give Purdue the 5-2 win.
The Boilermakers will find out the Big Ten Tournament draw in the next couple days. Once the full bracket and schedule is released, it will be on PurdueSports.com.