The Illini Aces were created during the 2003-2004 season as a joint venture between Head Coach Sujay Lama, the women’s tennis team, and the Illini Pride Tennis Chairs, Matt Osmundsen and Ankit Patel. The initial idea was to get a core of Illini Pride students out there along with a solid contingency of the Champaign-Urbana community. The ball got rolling with a meeting between the coaches, players, friends of the coaches, and the Illini Pride Tennis Chairs. In its first year of existence, the Illini Aces had several large turnouts that caused havoc to ranked teams such as Harvard and Michigan. As the Illini Aces were created, the team enjoyed success as it almost clinched its first ever Big Ten Title and went into the NCAA Tournament ranked 22nd.
The goal for the Illini Aces is to increase its annual membership each season and to show the opposition that fans at Women’s Collegiate Tennis are not supposed to be quiet and only clap. The Illini Aces want to create a hostile environment for the opposition, while creating a fun environment for the home team and its fans. With a growing tradition, it is the hope of the coaches, players, and this year’s Illini Pride Tennis Chairs that the number of Illini Aces increase this year and continue to increase in years to come. Finally, we hope, as a member of the Illini Aces, everyone has a good time at the Atkins Tennis Center and that the Fightin’ Illini can continue their success! Go Illini!
Joining the Illini Aces is easy! It takes three easy steps:
- Be an Illini Pride Member
- Come out to a Women’s Tennis Match
- Sign up with one of the Illini Pride Tennis Chairs!
Once you’re a member, you can enjoy free perks such as free food, t-shirts, entertaining shows between doubles and singles, and, of course, some great Fightin’ Illini Tennis!