April 27, 2006
Illinois home-court motivation was apparent from the start, as the Illini won two doubles matches to take the point for the first time since February 4. The top Illinois tandem of Macall Harkins and Emily Wang defeated Ohio State's Caitlin O'Keefe and Angela Dipastina 9-7. The Buckeyes then took a set as Sonia Ruzimovsky and Julie Blackmore dismissed Brianna Knue and Shivani Dave 8-5 at No. 2. The Illini held on, however, with Alejandra Meza Cuadra and Momei Qu securing the point for the 1-0 lead.
The singles matches proved to be a back and forth battle, with both teams fighting to keep their teams alive in the championship tournament. At No. 1 singles, Harkins held off Ruzimovsky in an emotional 7-5, 6-2 victory. Caitlin O'Keefe battled back to keep the Buckeyes in the match as she defeated Qu 6-4, 6-2.
While the No. 3 and No. 5 matches heading up, Cuadra was busy with Dipastina at No. 4. The Illinois sophomore fended off Dipastina, 6-4, 6-2, to put her team up 3-2. While Knue and Blackmore were battling at the No. 3 spot, Dave and Kristin Messmer were fighting at No. 5. The crowd was moving between the two courts to see which would finish first, and which would have the deciding point at stake. It was Dave who emerged victorious first, with a grueling 6-4, 7-5 win, which then gave Illinois the 4-2 point lead and the win. With the winner already decided, Knue and Blackmore's match was abandoned.
Illinois advances to take on Iowa in search of their second upset of the weekend. The quarterfinal matchup is set for 2:00 p.m. on Friday.