#7 Illini Start Big Ten Play With 4-1Win at #23 Northwestern
March 2, 2014
EVANSTON, Ill. – The No. 7 Illini men's tennis team (7-4, 1-0) started Big Ten play Sunday afternoon with a 4-1 win over No. 23 Northwestern (10-6, 0-1). Illinois earned its 24th straight victory over the in-state rival as the all-time series now moves to 61-37-2 in the Illini's favor.
"A few things to recognize today," said Illinois head coach Brad Dancer. "First and foremost a big shoutout to alumni and fans who made an away match feel like home. Alex Jesse and Farris Gosea did a good job as their doubles match progressed of paying better attention to the patterns they wanted to run. In singles Farris and Blake Bazarnik stayed dialed in the whole day. Those two carried the banner. Super pleased with the fighting effort our guys continue to show. They play with toughness every time out."
The Orange and Blue won its fourth doubles point of the season and its third in the last four matches. The fourth ranked doubles team of Ross Guignon and Tim Kopinski downed No. 21 Mihir Kumar and Raleigh Smith 8-4. It marked their fourth win over a top-25 ranked team in five attempts.
Pressure was placed on the newly formed team of Farris Gosea and Alex Jesse at No. 2 doubles after the pairing of Blake Bazarnik and Julian Childers lost 8-4. Gosea and Jesse quickly gelled and gave the Illini an early 1-0 advantage, dispatching Alp Horoz/Sam Shropshire 8-6.
Gosea played the No. 1 singles position for the first time this season and most certainly lived up to the spot, cruising to a 6-2, 6-1 win over No. 44 Smith. The junior moves to 8-2 overall for the spring dual season.
Blake Bazarnik pushed the lead to 3-0 with a win at No. 4 singles. Bazarnik achieved a 6-3, 6-3 straight set victory over Strong Kirchheimer. The Vandy transfer is now 6-2 in dual meets for the Illini.
The Wildcats got on the board with a win at the No. 6 singles position. Alp Horoz got the best of Alex Jesse, 6-4, 6-4.
Junior Ross Guignon produced yet another clincher for the Orange and Blue this season when he triumphed over Kumar by the score 7-6(2), 7-5. Guignon is the hottest player on the team right now, winning his six straight match today.
The ranked three-set battle between No. 33 Tim Kopinski and No. 85 Sam Shropshire unfortunately will go unresolved. Kopinski was up 6-5 in the third set when play was stopped.
Julian Childers was trying to earn his first dual match victory this afternoon. After dropping the first set, Childers rallied with a 6-2 second set win. The sophomore was down 0-3 in the third set when it was stopped.
Up next, the Fighting Illini return to Urbana for a four match home stand. First up is a double header on March 9, starting with Purdue at Noon, followed by Detroit Mercy at 6:30 p.m.
No. 2 -- Gosea / Jesse (ILL) def. Horoz / Shropshire (NU), 8-6
No. 3 -- Baev / Kirchheimer (NU) def. Bazarnik / Childers (ILL), 8-4
No. 2 -- #33 Tim Kopinski (ILL) vs. #85 Sam Shropshire (NU), 6-4, 3-6, 6-5, uf
No. 3 -- Ross Guignon (ILL) def. Mihir Kumar (NU), 7-6(2), 7-5
No. 4 – Blake Bazarnik (ILL) def. Strong Kirchheimer (NU), 6-3, 6-3
No. 5 – Julian Childers (ILL) vs. Alex Pasareanu (NU), 4-6, 6-2, 0-3, uf
No. 6 -- Alp Horoz (NU) def. Alex Jesse (ILL), 6-4, 6-4