Texas A&M Gets Revenge with 4-2 Win over Illini
Feb. 16, 2014
HOUSTON, Texas- The No. 22 Illinois men's tennis team was hoping for a strong sense of deja-vu Sunday afternoon in Houston, but unfortunately witnessed a different ending. In a rematch from last week, the Illini took on No. 8 Texas A&M and it was the Aggies who walked away with a 4-2 victory.
"I give a lot of credit to A&M," said Illinois head coach Brad Dancer. "They saved quadruple break point in doubles twice against us and we didn't respond well to that. In addition, they played well at spots. Harrison Adams played great against Jared and Shane Vinsant was really good against Farris. Farris was dialed in from the first point and that was high quality tennis."
Doubles once again did not have a favorable outcome for the Orange and Blue. Both Illinois pairings of Jared Hiltzik/Blake Bazarnik and Brian Page/Julian Childers lost 6-2 to their adversaries. Meanwhile, No. 5 Tim Kopinski's/Ross Guignon's battle with No. 3 Jackson Withrow/Junior Ore was unfortunately stopped amidst the tiebreak.
No. 8 Hiltzik suffered his second loss of the weekend, when he faced off with No. 22 Harrison Adams, who bested the sophomore 6-3, 6-4.
Ross Guignon cut the deficit in half and put the Illini on the board with a 6-1, 6-5(3) victory over Jordan Szabo in No. 6 singles. Thus, Guignon went 3-0 in singles this weekend, all straight-set victories.
Junior Farris Gosea then gave some fresh life to the Illini, tying the score at 2-2 with a straight set victory at No. 2 singles. Gosea downed No. 43 Shane Vinsant 6-3, 6-4.
Jackson Withrow then recaptured the momentum for Texas A&M with a 6-3, 1-6, 6-3 win over Blake Bazarnik in No. 5 singles.
Despite the setback, the Illini pushed on, needing the next two points to win. Sophomore Brian Page forced a third set tiebreak vs. Junior Ore, where both players refused to lose. Finally, Ore got the upper hand and won the tiebreak 13-11 and clinched the match.
Tim Kopinski's match went unfinished. The 24th ranked junior faced No. 25 Jeremy Efferding at No. 3 singles. Efferding was up 6-4, 3-6, 5-2 when the match stopped.
"Even though Tim was down 5-2 in the third set, the whole team was confident he would pull that out," Dancer said. "He controlled a lot of the tempo in that match."
The Illini now have two weeks off before starting Big Ten play in Evanston, Ill. on March 2 vs. the Northwestern Wildcats.
"What we've proven at this point in the season is that we are tough and gritty," concluded Dancer. "That's great from a culture perspective but as a team overall if we want to be challenging for titles then the following needs to happen: establish an identity as doubles players, increase our physical presence in transition play, commit to proper return of serve tactics and increase the hunger mentality in big points."
No. 2 -- Adams / Vinsant (TAMU) def. Bazarnik / Hiltzik (ILL), 6-2
No. 3 -- #29 Efferding / Szabo (TAMU) def. Page / Childers (ILL), 6-2
No. 2 -- #30 Farris Gosea (ILL) def. #43 Shane Vinsant (TAMU), 6-3, 6-4
No. 3 -- #25 Jeremy Efferding (TAMU)vs. #24 Tim Kopinski (ILL), 6-4, 3-6, 5-2, unfinished
No. 4 -- Junior Ore (TAMU) def. Brian Page (ILL), 6-2, 4-6, 6-5(11)
No. 5 -- Jackson Withrow (TAMU)def. Blake Bazarnik (ILL), 6-3, 1-6, 6-3
No. 6 -- Ross Guignon (ILL) def. Jordan Szabo (TAMU), 6-1, 6-5(3)