Hawkeyes Start Big Ten Play with Win Over Illinois

Iowa City, Iowa – The University of Iowa women’s tennis team started their official season with a win over Illinois, its first over the Fighting Illini since 2014. Freshman Alexa Noel improved to a 7-0 record with a straight-set win Friday. The win was one of Iowa’s three singles wins against Illinois. The Hawkeyes also earned the doubles point with wins in the No. 1 and No. 2 spots.

Doubles started with a 6-2 win by Elise van Heuvelen and Samantha Gillas. Alexa Noel and Samantha Mannix beat Emilee Duong and Asuka Kawai, 6-2, to wrap up doubles.

“I think doubles is key in any college tennis match,” said head coach Sasha Schmid. “A lot of our practices mid-week are devoted to doubles so that we can make sure we are building confidence and being able to start the match with a doubles point. That doubles point is going to be key along the way.”

In singles Noel defeated Illinois Emilee Duong 6-2, 6-0. Van Heuvelen came away with a 6-0, 6-3 over No. 107 Asuku Kawii at the No. 2 spot.

“I just got off to a pretty good start,” said van Heuvelen. “I stuck to it and stayed confident throughout the whole match and was pleased with the result.”

Mannix battled to come away with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Sasha Belaya to get the final point for the Hawkeyes. Michelle Bacalla went unfinished in her match against Ashley Yeah at the No. 4 spot. Samantha Gillas fell to Kate Duong at the No. 5 spot. Vipasha Mehra lost to Josie Frazier in the No. 6 position.


“It has been such a long time, almost 11 months since we have played. Obviously, we had the preseason but playing a duel match is meaningful. We knew we were going to have a great opponent tonight against Illinois, and it’s a great way to start the season with a solid win.”


The Hawkeyes will host Northwestern on Feb. 14 at 12 p.m. (CT) at the Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Complex.

Iowa, 4 Illinois, 2
Feb. 12, 2021 | 3 p.m. | Iowa City, Iowa | Hawkeye Recreation and Tennis Center


  1. #97 Alexa Noel (IA) def. Emilee Duong (IL): 6-2, 6-0
  2. Elise van Heuvelen (IA) def. #107 Asuka Kawai (IL): 6-0, 6-3
  3. Samantha Mannix (IA) def. Sasha Belaya (IL): 6-4, 6-2
  4. Michelle Bacalla (IA) def. Ashley Yeah (IL): 6-3, unfinished
  5. Kate Duong (IL) def. Samantha Gillas (IA): 6-3, 6-1
  6. Josie Frazier (IL) def. Vipasha Mehra (IA): 6-1, 6-3


  1. Noel/Mannix (IA) def. Duong/Kawai (IL): 6-2
  2. Van Heuvelen /Gillas (IA) def. Belaya/Frazier (IL): 6-2
  3. Burich/Bauers (IA) vs. Yeah/Duong (IL): unfinished

Order of Finish: Doubles: 2,1 Singles: 5,6,1,2,3