No. 23 Women's Tennis Drops Close Match to Illinois, 4-3

by Logan Hasselbach


NORMAN, Okla. – The No. 23 UCF women’s tennis team fell to Illinois Sunday afternoon, 4-3. The Knights picked up the doubles point and two singles courts, but the Illini fought back to take the match.

Illinois took the first doubles court on three, defeating Jaleesa Leslie and Sophia Biolay 6-2. The Knights battled harder however and took courts one and two by scores of 6-4 and 6-2, respectively, to go up 1-0 early.

Momentum shifted in the singles portion, with McKenna Schaefbauer quickly taking down Leslie at court five 6-4, 6-1 to even the score. Noel Saidenova and Biolay were not content with the even score, striking back to put the Knights up 3-1. Saidenova won her ninth-consecutive singles match 6-1, 6-3 at court four. The win streak dates back to the opening day of the Big 12 Fall Invite Nov. 9. Biolay bounced back from the loss yesterday, defeating her opponent in straight sets, 6-2, 6-2. Illinois evened the tally at three all, taking court six 6-2, 7-5 and court one 6-3, 7-6(4). It all came down to court three, the lone court to end in a third set. Illinois’s Kasia Treiber took the first set 6-2, but Jantje Tilbuerger battled back to force a third set, winning the second 6-2. Despite her battle, Tilbuerger fell 6-3 in the third, with Treiber clinching the match for the Illini.


The Knights stay on the road next weekend, traveling to FIU Feb. 2 and No. 21 Miami Feb. 4. Both matches have a first serve time of noon.