Senior Marc Spicijaric and the Illini begin the 2009 season 2-0.
Jan. 16, 2009
URBANA, Ill. - The No. 15 Illinois men's tennis team kicked off the season today with two solid wins in a doubleheader against the Toledo Rockets and the Ball State Cardinals. The Orange and Blue started the day off with a 6-1 victory over the Toledo Rockets. In the nightcap, the Illini downed the Ball State Cardinals, 7-0, to start the season off an early 2-0.
"We were cleaner in the doubles play tonight than we were this afternoon," head coach Brad Dancer said. "In singles I thought we were better as well. It was an improved effort from this afternoon to tonight and that's a good omen for us right now. It's good that the guys were able to stay focus this evening, sweeping all matches. Now we just have to get focused on Pepperdine tomorrow night. They are a very good, well-coached team and we'll have to improve going into tomorrow night from what we did today."
In the season opening match against Toledo, the Illini started off a bit rusty in doubles, but found their rhythm later on in singles. The Illini tandem of seniors Marc Spicijaric and Brian Livingston wasted no time in taking care of the Toledo duo of Sven Burus and Robbie McCallum, 8-2. With an 8-4 win at No. 3 doubles, the Illini clinched the doubles point and headed into singles.
Freshman Ruan Roelofse, making his debut in front of the home crowd at the Atkins Tennis Center, was the first to strike, dominating Toledo's Gursher Harika in straight sets at No. 4 singles, 6-0, 6-1. Also making his Illini debut was junior Marek Czerwinski. The Birmingham, Mich., native looked quite comfortable on the courts this afternoon, polishing off Toledo's Sven Burus in another Illini straight sets victory, 6-1, 6-4. At No. 1 singles, No. 23-ranked sophomore Roy Kalmanovich prevailed over Toledo's Jared Miller 6-3, 6-4. With wins from Abe Souza and Billy Heiser, the Illini cruised to a season-opening 6-1 victory. The Orange and Blue are now 77-20-1 in their first dual of the season, dating back to 1905.
In the nightcap match with the Ball State Cardinals, the Illini started off the night strong. Sweeping the doubles matches with solid efforts on all three courts to take a 1-0 lead into singles play.
"I thought we were more aggressive in doubles tonight, whereas this afternoon we were waiting to see what was going on," Dancer added. "We were sharper tonight and Ball State brought a little bit better play out of us in doubles this evening. In singles, we didn't have the loose errors we did in the afternoon and the guys stayed focused throughout the match."
In singles, the Illini continued their aggressive play, not dropping a set the entire match. Czerwinski, playing at No. 3 singles rolled through Ball State's Jorge Rodriguez, 6-2, 6-1, to pick up his second win in as many matches. Senior transfer Brian Livingston, making his season debut for the Orange and Blue, notched an impressive 6-3, 6-0 win over Zane Smith (BSU) to pick up his first win of the 2009 season.
No. 41-ranked freshman Dennis Nevolo was firing on all cylinders the entire night, bageling Jose Perdomo (BSU) 6-0 in the opening frame. The Gurnee, Ill., native polished off the second set, 6-3 for his season-opening dual win. At No. 1 singles, Senior Marc Spicijaric, ranked No. 101, started off the night a little shaky, but found his rhythm midway through the first set, cruising to a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Ball State's Eduardo Pavia. Roelofse and junior Meedo El Tabakh helped the Illini clean house in the match, notching victories at Nos. 4 and 5 singles, respectively.
Illinois (2-0, 0-0) returns to the courts tomorrow night, Jan. 17 at 6 p.m. when they take on No. 14 Pepperdine (1-0,0-0) at the Atkins Tennis Center.
No. 15 Illinois 6, Toledo 1
Jan. 16, 2009
Atkins Tennis Center
1) Dennis Nevolo / Ruan Roelofse (ILL) vs. Jared Miller / Knot Likitkumchorn (TOL) 6-5 (unf.)
2) Marc Spicijaric / Brian Livingston (ILL) def. Sven Burus / Robbie McCallum (TOL) 8-2
3) Billy Heiser / Roy Kalmanovich (ILL) def. Wade Ward / Levi Bent-Lee (TOL) 8-4
Order of Finish (2,3)
1) #23 Roy Kalmanovich (ILL) def. Jared Miller (TOL) 6-3, 6-4
2) Marek Czerwinski (ILL) def. Sven Burus (TOL) 6-1, 6-4
3) Knot Likitkumchorn (TOL) def. Waylon Chin (ILL) 4-6, 6-2, 1-0 (10-2)
4) Ruan Roelofse (ILL) def. Gursher Harika (TOL) 6-0, 6-1
5) Billy Heiser (ILL) def. Aleksandar Elezovic (TOL) 6-3, 6-7 (5), 1-0 (10-7)
6) Abe Souza (ILL) def. Jay Miller (TOL) 6-1, 6-0
Order of Finish (4,6,2,1,3,5)
No. 15 Illinois 7, Ball State 0
Jan. 16, 2009
Atkins Tennis Center
1) Marek Czerwinski / Billy Heiser (ILL) vs. Jose Perdomo / Jorge Rodriguez (BSU) 8-4
2) Dennis Nevolo / Ruan Roelofse (ILL) def. Eduardo Pavia / Andres Monroy (BSU) 8-2
3) Roy Kalmanovich / Brian Livingston (ILL) def. Shaun Bussert / Jon Wegener (BSU) 8-1
Order of Finish (3,2,1)
1) #101 Marc Spicijaric (ILL) def. Eduardo Pavia (BSU) 6-2, 6-2
2) #41 Dennis Nevolo (ILL) def. Jose Perdomo (BSU) 6-0, 6-3
3) Marek Czerwinski (ILL) def. Jorge Rodriguez (BSU) 6-2, 6-1
4) Ruan Roelofse (ILL) def. Shaun Bussert (BSU) 7-6 (7), 6-3
5) #113 Meedo El Tabakh (ILL) def. Andres Monroy (BSU) 7-5, 6-1
6) Brian Livingston (ILL) def. Zane Smith (BSU) 6-3, 6-0
Order of Finish (3,6,2,1,4,5)