OXFORD, Miss. — The 18th-ranked Illini women's tennis team got off to a strong start Friday in its NCAA first-round matchup against Rice, winning the doubles point.
But Illinois couldn't sustain the momentum in singles, losing 4-3.
The Illini (18-8) took a 1-0 lead thanks to wins from the teams of Marisa Lambropoulos/Melissa Kopinski and Chelcie Abajian/Allison Falkin.
Amy Allin and Abajian each won in singles.
In women's golf:
Illini in hunt. Illinois fired a 14-over 302 in the second round of the NCAA West Regional at Erie, Colo., to finish in a tie for ninth place. Illinois must finish today's final round in the top eight to advance to the NCAA championships.
Illini senior Katelin Dilger shot a 2-over 74 and is tied for 22nd place at 148. UI classmate Samantha Sloan shot 4-over 76 and is tied for 30th at 149.
In men's track & field:
Illinois in fourth. Jim Riddle and Hunter Mickow finished sixth and seventh, respectively, in the 10,000 meters and Davis Fraker was sixth in the hammer throw for Illinois during the first day of the Big Ten Championships at Madison, Wis.
Josh Hodur tied for sixth in the pole vault and Matthew Bane tied for eighth for the Illini, who enter the second day tied for fourth with 11 points. The host Badgers lead with 26.
Corey Hammon is in third place after five events in the decathalon.
In women's track & field:
Golliday in the mix. After four events in the heptathlon at the Big Ten Championships, Illinois' Marissa Golliday is in sixth place with 3,282 points.
The Illini have yet to record a team point through two scored events, the 10,000 meters and the hammer throw.
Lions squeak by. A solo home run by Penn State's Jordan Steranka in the sixth inning broke a 2-2 tie and sent the host Nittany Lions to a 3-2 win against Illinois.
Reid Roper drew a leadoff walk in the second inning and scored from first after a double by Kelly Norris-Jones and an errant Penn State throw.
Jordan Parr lifted a sac fly to plate Willie Argo in the fifth for the Illini (26-22, 9-10 Big Ten), who had three hits.
Illini swept. Illinois' chances of making the NCAA tournament took a crippling hit, host Northwestern winning 3-2 and 7-3.
Jessica Davis went 3 for 7 with a home run, two RBI and two runs on the day for the Illini (27-25, 10-13 Big Ten). Pitcher Jackie Guy had two singles in Game 2.