#6 Illini Take Down #7 Minnesota in Match Play, 21-9
March 9, 2013
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The sixth-ranked Fighting Illini men's gymnastics team captured a 21-9 victory over No. 7 Minnesota in its historic match play meet Friday night at Huff Hall. The Orange and Blue clinched the win on parallel bars in the fifth rotation after winning all five vault matchups in the fourth. The Illini notched four event titles, including two by freshman Fred Hartville. The meet format, which was created by head coach Justin Spring and assistant coach Daniel Ribeiro, featured five head-to-head contests on each apparatus with no set lineups. Each matchup was worth one point.
"I think it was an overall great meet format," Spring said. "The fans got it, and they were buying in. 'Point Illinois' made sense to them, and there was a lot of great energy when the score was close. It was exciting, and I really enjoyed it."
Minnesota got on the board first, but the Illini captured three of five floor battles to take a 3-2 advantage into the second rotation. Hartville won the event overall with a 14.900 to claim his first career floor title, while seniors Yoshi Mori and Vince Smurro also downed their opponents.
The Illini continued their success on pommel horse, adding three points with victories from redshirt freshman Jacob Tilsley, true freshman Logan Bradley and Mori, who picked up his second head-to-head win of the night.
On rings, the Orange and Blue went 3-2 for the third consecutive rotation, picking up three wins to go up 9-6. Sophomore Mike Wilner captured his fourth straight rings title and fifth of the season with a 15.300, while senior Austin Phillips and freshman Joey Peters also won their matchups.
The Illini pulled away in the fifth rotation, winning all five contests. Hartville led the charge with his second title of the night and sixth overall, tying his career-high score of 15.300, which ranks fourth all-time at Illinois. Tilsley posted a career-high 14.850 to claim a win for the Orange and Blue, while junior Alex Varga, sophomore Josh Wilson and Mori helped Illinois to a 14-6 lead, just two points shy of a guaranteed win.
The Illini struggled on parallel bars but managed to pick up two victories to seal the victory. Freshman Max Mayr nabbed a win to put Illinois within one, allowing junior Cameron Rogers to clinch in the final performance of the rotation.
In the last event of the night, Illinois went 5-0 on high bar to end the meet with 21 points. Mori captured his sixth title of the season and first on high bar with a 14.550, marking his team-leading fourth head-to-head win of the evening. Meanwhile, Mayr, Smurro, Phillips and Peters each notched their second wins of the meet.
Illinois posted its third-highest score this season under the traditional scoring format, earning a 430.600 to edge Minnesota (420.650).
The Orange and Blue will travel to No. 9 California next weekend, taking on the Golden Bears on Saturday, March 16 at 5 p.m. CT in Berkeley. The meet will feature traditional scoring rather than match play.