Senior Ryan Rowe and the Illini take down No. 14 Boise State on Saturday night, 4-3.
Feb. 17, 2008
SEATTLE, Wash. - The No. 11 Illinois men's tennis team returned to the win column today with a gut-wrenching fight against No. 14-seeded Boise State at the ITA National Men's Team Indoor Championship at the Seattle Tennis Center on Saturday tonight. The Illini won the doubles point with crowd-pleasing wins on court Nos. 2 and 3 , but top performances in singles propelled the Illini to their third win over a ranked opponent in 2008.
"We came out and won the doubles point to get a quick lead," head coach Brad Dancer said. "Then in singles, it came down to Waylon's match on court five where he pulled out a tough 7-6 win in the third set. However, the real heroics came from senior Ryan Rowe, who really stepped up in his match and looked for his forehand. I thought he was our player of the day. He was a real leader for us today, which is something that we have been looking at from him all season. I think this bodes well for us heading into tomorrow's match, no matter who we play. I also was glad to see the freshman Chin pull it out when the match was on the line."
While the Illini took care of business on the court, some special guests were on tap for the Illini's fight against the Broncos as fans, the Illinois women's tennis team. The women are in town for their Sunday dual against the Washington Huskies women's program.
"I really felt that the women's team was a catalyst that carried our team through the match today," Dancer said. "I was so appreciative of them coming out and thought that their support of our guys was great today."
With the win, Illinois improved to 4-3 on the year, while Broncos have lost their sixth straight match of the season after opening the 2008 campaign 5-0, and has since dropped to 5-6 overall.
With the match coming down to the bottom half of the Illini lineup, freshman Waylon Chin answered the call, as he ousted Steve Robertson (BSU) in a grueling three-setter, 6-2, 4-6, 7-6(3). Before Chin's contest clinched the match, it was the efforts of sophomore Billy Heiser, who tallied the Illini's first singles win on the night, besting Brent Werbeck (BCSU), 6-3, 6-4, while Rowe's (ILL) poise and senior leadership shined through in his win over Clancy Shields (BSU), 6-4, 6-4.
In doubles, senior Ruben Gonzales and Davis (ILL) dropped their doubles tilt, but Illinois rebounded with wins on court Nos. 2 and 3. Heiser and Rowe, and led the charge at No. 2 doubles, delivering an 8-3 victory before Chin and junior Marc Spicijaric ousted Brent Werbeck and Steve Robertson, 8-6.
Illinois won its first dual over the Broncos who owned a convincing lead in the series at 5-0 before today's victory. The Fighting Illini will next take on the winner of the Alabama/Washington match, which was not decided at time of release.
The 2008 ITA National Men's Team Indoor Championship can be followed through live scoring (Both locations) and video (Only at Nordstrom Tennis Center) that is available at the tournament official web site at [http://gohuskies.cstv.com/sports/m-tennis/spec-rel/08-ita-indoors.html] by clicking on the "Live Video or Live Scoring" links on the left hand side of the page. The tournament's live scoring and video is provided to fans free of charge, and will update continuously throughout the day and match.
A full recap of the Illini's final match will be available on the official home of Illinois men's tennis, fightingillini.com, at the conclusion of the match on Saturday night.
#11 UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS 4, #14 BOISE STATE UNIVERSITY 3
1. Luke Shields (BSU) def. Ruben Gonzales (ILL) - 4-6, 6-0, 6-2
2. #15 Ryan Rowe (ILL) def. Clancy Shields (BSU) - 6-4, 6-4
3. #70 Billy Heiser (ILL) def. Brent Werbeck - 6-3, 6-4
4. Piotr Dilaj (BSU) def. Marc Spicijaric (ILL) - 1-6, 6-2, 6-1
5. Waylon Chin (ILL) def. Steve Robertson (BSU) - 6-2, 4-6, 7-6(2)
6. Paul Koenke (BSU) def. Abe Souza (ILL) -6-3, 6-4
1. Clancy Shields / Luke Shields (BSU) def. Brandon Davis / Ruben Gonzales (ILL) - 8-3
2. Ryan Rowe / Billy Heiser (ILL) def. Paul Koenke / Eric Roberson (BSU) - 8-3
3. Waylon Chin / Marc Spicijaric (ILL) def. Piotr Dilaj / Steve Robertson (BSU) - 8-6
University of Illinois (4-3), National Rankings - 11
Boise State (5-6), National Ranking - 37
Order of finish: Doubles (1, 2, 3); Singles (6, 3, 1, 2, 4, 5)
The 2008 ITA National Men's Team Indoor Championship is being hosted in Seattle, Wash., by the University of Washington Huskies for the fifth time in the tournament's history. For travel information, further ticker information and prices, driving directions, places to stay and eat and full tournament results and scores, visit the official tournament home page at http://gohuskies.cstv.com/sports/m-tennis/spec-rel/08-ita-indoors.html.
The tournament format guarantees every participating institution a minimum of three matches, win or lose. Four matches at both the Nordstrom Tennis Center and Seattle Tennis Club will be played on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Match times are 10 a.m. CT (8 a.m. local), 1 p.m. CT (11 a.m. local), 4:30 p.m. CT (2:30 p.m. local) and 7:30 p.m. (5:30 p.m. local). The final is set for a 2 p.m. CT (noon local time) start on Monday, Feb. 18, and will be held at the Nordstrom Tennis Center.