The Illini will continue ITA Kick-off play tomorrow against No. 24 Tulsa
Jan. 25, 2013
URBANA, Ill. - When the dust settled after the Illini men's tennis home opener, it was No. 19 Tennessee moving on to the championship game Saturday, after the Volunteers claimed a 4-0 victory over Illinois. The Orange and Blue drop their first dual match of the season as their record moves to 2-1, while Tennessee remains unbeaten at 8-0.
"We play with a lot of energy and passion, but we have to execute better," said Illinois head coach Brad Dancer. "Serving game in particular. Our serving in doubles was poor and if we don't serve well we don't give ourself a chance to win."
The Illini got off to a slow start on doubles. At the one, #26 Mike Libietis and Jarryd Chaplin defeated Alex Jesse and Farris Gosea 8-4. Then the Volunteers secured the doubles point when Edward Jones and John Collins defeated Ross Guignon and Tim Kopinski 8-6 at the two.
Illinois displayed plenty of grit and fight in the singles competition round as four of the six matches made it to three sets. Freshman Jared Hiltzik took on #9 Libietis at the one. Hiltzik gained the early momentum, claiming the first set 6-4. However, Libietis got the tide to sway back in his favor taking the next two sets 6-4, 6-2.
"First dual match at home and it was a really amazing atmosphere," said Jared Hiltzik. "Tomorrow we go out and fight again. It's still another match. We have high expectations this year and we're going to keep moving forward."
In the unfinished matches, Tim Kopinski was having a back and forth duel with #40 Hunter Reese. When the match expired, Kopinski led 6-4, 2-6, 3-0. Bruno Abdelnour at the three was providing some spark with a thrilling 7-6 (7) first set victory over Chaplin. That match finished tied in the second set 4-4. Finally, Ross Guignon was asked to step up in the final slot as he took on Edward Jones. The unfinished score there was 5-7, 6-1, 1-2.
The Illini will return to action Saturday, Jan. 26, at 2 p.m. CT to take on Tulsa in the ITA Kick-Off consolation game.