Flames Knock Off Panthers To Extend Long League Winning Streak
April 19, 2012
MILWAUKEE - UIC showed why it has won the last 15 Horizon League women's tennis championships in claiming a 7-0 win over the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Thursday night at LeClub.
The Flames have now won 140-straight Horizon League matches, sending the Panthers (12-8, 5-2 Horizon) to just their second defeat in seven league outings this season.
While the loss knocked UWM out of contention for its first-ever regular season league title, the Panthers will still look to clinch a best-ever third-place finish when they host Detroit Saturday.
"Obviously UIC is a very strong team. They play hard and are extremely well-coached," UWM head coach Sean McInerney said. "We put forth a good effort, but we knew coming in that we're not quite at their level yet as a program. They have four seniors in their top six and we're still a relative inexperienced team. We competed well in doubles and then showed some of our immaturity in singles."
UWM put up a good battle in doubles, with the Panthers' top tandem of Maddy Soule and Christina Colarossi playing even with the Flames' top pairing through the first 12 games before UIC's duo claimed the final two games.
The top of UWM's lineup also put up a good fight in singles play. Soule fell, 6-3, 7-5, to reigning league player of the year Mariya Kovaleva in the top spot. Freshman Chelsea Bailey fell 6-4, 6-4 to Teona Tsertsvadze in the second spot.
"I liked how we played in doubles. We were more aggressive and I liked that because it is something we talked about and worked on this week," McInerney said. "In singles we were a little more reactive than we have been in previous matches. We didn't play with as much confidence as we had been playing with in previous matches but that is understandable considering the quality of our opponent."
The Panthers, in the midst of what is shaping up to be the best season in school history, were supported by a nice crowd at LeClub.
"It was great to see all of the people here and I know my team really appreciated the support," McInerney said. "It is great to come out here and see the coaches and athletes from the other teams supporting our team."
Now, the attention turns toward Saturday's match with Detroit. The Panthers likely need a win to claim third place and can add to their school-record league win total. Plus, UWM's lone senior, Megan Gow, will be playing her final home match.
"The bottom line is we'll need to work hard and find a way to be better against Detroit," McInerney said. "They are a very good team and we have a lot to play for."