LUBBOCK, Texas – For the fourth straight year, the No. 11 Texas Tech Women's Tennis team is headed to the NCAA Sweet 16 as the Lady Raiders defeated No. 19 Illinois, 4-2, at the McLeod Tennis Center Saturday afternoon.
The Lady Raiders (22-6) dropped the doubles point to the Fighting Illini (22-6). No. 28 Sarah Dvorak and Sabrina Federici fell, 6-4, to No. 80 Daniela Novak and Sasha Belaya on court one before Alex Valenstein and Lana Rush dropped a 6-3 decision on court three.
Senior Sarah Dvorak put the Lady Raiders on the board with her 6-1, 6-0 victory on court five. She extends her win streak to five matches with the win and is now 9-3 when playing at the No. 5 position.
Illinois took a 2-1 lead as senior Katelyn Jackson dropped her first match of the season. Emilee Duong defeated Jackson 6-3, 6-0 on court six.
Gabriela Talaba tied the match at 2-all when she took down Illinois' no. 1 player, Jaclyn Switkes, in straight sets (6-3, 6-3). Talaba improved to 13-6 at the no. 1 position with the win.
Felicity Maltby came out with a 6-2 win in the first set to take a lead in the match. Illinois' Asuka Kawai came back to win set two, 6-4, to force a deciding third set. Maltby battled back to win 6-3 in the final set and clinch Tech's third point of the day.
With two courts left playing, Sabrina Federici and Alex Valenstein fought to finish. Valenstein forced a decisive third set with her 7-6 win in tiebreaks (7-2).
Federici clinched her fifth match point of the year for the Lady Raiders with a two-set win over No. 105 Mia Rabinowitz (7-5, 6-2) on court four. Federici improved to 6-0 on the season when playing at the No. 4 position.
The Lady Raiders travel to Winston-Salem, N.C. for the NCAA Championships. Tech will face No. 6 Texas on Thursday, May 17, in the NCAA Sweet 16.