Tennis defeat ends historic winning streak

Senior Haley Craig won two matches against Detroit Saturday but the team fell, 4-3. Photo: Steve Woltmann

By Laura White

After winning 146 consecutive matches against conference opponents, the women’s tennis team had its historic streak come to an end Saturday, falling to Detroit, 4-3, at the Flames Outdoor Tennis Courts.

Prior to the match, UIC honored its lone senior, Haley Craig, who was 2-0 on the day in doubles and singles play.

UIC (11-5, 3-1 Horizon League) hadn’t been defeated by a conference opponent since the 1996 season, when the Flames fell to Green Bay in the postseason tournament final.

The Titans were a challenge for the Flames from the start, as the teams began in doubles and Detroit took two of three matches to jump out to a 1-0 lead.

At No. 1 doubles, Craig and Mariana Palacios downed Elena Strakhova and Valery Kulikovskaya, 8-3, for the first win of the match.

Kathryn Sharples and Jana Knoppe suffered an 8-4 loss at No. 2 to Nino Sujashvili and Irina Slizovskaya.

Natalia Kuvakina and Ann-Sophie Hahn fell to Raina Halabi and Chloe Karoub, 8-6, at No. 3.

In singles, UIC had three of its matches extend to a decisive third set and claimed two straight-set wins from Craig and Knoppe.

Craig recorded her second win of the day at No. 2, taking down Julia Fernandes, 6-0, 6-4, before Knoppe collected a 6-2, 6-1 win at No. 5 over Halabi.

Palacios produced UIC’s final win of the day after capturing a three-set (5-7, 6-3, 6-1) win at No. 1 over Karoub to improve to 2-0 at the position.

UIC had three tough losses to end the match: Sharples dropped a 7-6 (5), 6-3 decision to Kulikovskaya at No. 4; Kuvakina fell in the final two frames, 6-2 and 6-3, to Slizovskaya; and Keti Mebuke was defeated by Strakhova, 5-7, 6-3 and 7-5, at No. 6.

The Flames will return to action at 12:05 p.m. Friday, facing Youngstown State in Ohio. They take on Cleveland State on the road at 11 a.m. Saturday.

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