Freshman Connor Roth clinches Illini win over Purdue with his singles victory at No. 6 singles.
March 8, 2008
URBANA, Ill. - The No. 7 Illinois tennis team's match against Purdue was over before it began, as the fiery Illini stomped the Boilermakers in all three doubles and six singles matches en route to a 7-0 sweep of Purdue tonight at the Atkins Tennis Center. The duo of No. 20-ranked senior Ryan Rowe and sophomore Billy Heiser clinched the doubles point for Illinois to start things off, while freshman Connor Roth, making his dual-match debut, clinched the contest with his win at No. 6 singles.
"I thought Billy and Connor both played well today," head coach Brad Dancer said about the performance. "We do have things to work on in doubles. I know at No. 3 doubles we had some unlucky breaks, but they made some improvements out on the court. Overall, there is always room for improvement from our team and that is what we are going to have to do to get better. We are looking to continue to build confidence with every match we play and this helps with that goal, so I don't want to take anything away from a victory. But now we have to look toward and prepare for our next match against TCU this Wednesday."
With the win, Illinois improved to 8-4 overall and 2-0 in Big Ten action, while Purdue dropped to 7-5 on the year and 1-1 in conference affairs.
Purdue started the evening by challenging the Illini in doubles, keeping all three matches on court close in the early goings. Illinois, who has now won the doubles point 10 times this season, struggled to take hold of the dual until the senior tandem and 20th-ranked pair in the country of Ruben Gonzales and Brandon Davis (ILL) opened-up their match on court two en route to an 8-6 win over Eric Ramos and Patrick Rose (PUR). Rowe and Heiser (ILL) then clinched the doubles point with their victory on court one, while the new pairing of junior Marc Spicijaric and Roth (ILL) made their dual debut, winning 8-6 over Griff Nienberg and Jose Fuenmayor (PUR).
With everything going its way, Illinois never-looked back after taking a 1-0 lead in the mach. From there, the singles beatings began when No. 14-ranked Rowe (ILL) made quick work of Kuzmanovic (PUR), who stood no chance in his 6-1, 6-3 loss at No. 1 singles. Spicijaric (ILL) was the next to the finish line with a pair of 6-3 set victories over Rose (PUR) on court three.
With the Purdue netters dropping like flies, Illini youngster Roth then held Paul Foley (PUR) to just three points the entire match when he upended the Boilermaker, 6-1, 6-2, to clinch the match in his first dual win of his career. Heiser (ILL) at No. 4, Gonzales at No. 2 and freshman Waylon Chin (ILL) at No. 5 rounded out the evening with wins to secure the final 7-0 score for the night.
Other Illini superlatives include Illinois' Heiser winning his sixth straight singles match, while three others won their third straight (Rowe, Gonzales, Chin). Rowe (ILL) leads the team in victories (18), while the doubles lineup is paced by the duo of Gonzales and Davis (ILL), who has now won three straight matches heading into their duals this week.
Illinois stays at home in its next outing to have a non-conference showdown against TCU on Wednesday, March 12. The match is slated for a 6 p.m. start at the Atkins Tennis Center. The match is Illinois last at home before the Spring Break Holiday. Admission is FREE to the event.
Live scoring is offered for all of Illinois' home matches, while a full recap of the duals will be available at the conclusion of the contests that day. Both features can be found at the official web site of Illinois men's tennis, www.fightingillini.com, by clicking on the men's tennis home page.
#7 UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS 7, PURDUE UNIVERSITY 0
3/8/2008 AT URBANA, ILL. (ATKINS TENNIS CENTER)
1. #14 Ryan Rowe (ILL) def. Branko Kuzmanovic (PUR) - 6-1, 6-3
2. #92 Ruben Gonzales (ILL) def. Slavko Bijelica (PUR) - 6-1, 3-6, 1-0(2)
3. Marc Spicijaric (ILL) def. Patrick Rose (PUR) - 6-3, 6-3
4. #84 Billy Heiser (ILL) def. Eric Ramos (PUR) - 6-3, 6-3
5. Waylon Chin (ILL) def. Griff Nienberg (PUR) - 6-4, 7-6(2)
6. Connor Roth (ILL) def. Paul Foley (PUR) - 6-1, 6-2
1. #20 Ryan Rowe / Billy Heiser (ILL) def. Slavko Bijelica / Branko Kuzmanovic (PUR) - 8-6
2. #21 Brandon Davis / Ruben Gonzales (ILL) def. Eric Ramos / Patrick Rose (PUR) - 8-5
3. Connor Roth / Marc Spicijaric (ILL) def. Griff Nienberg / Jose Fuenmayor (PUR) - 8-6
University of Illinois (8-4, 2-0 Big Ten), National Rankings - 7
Purdue University (7-5, 1-1 Big Ten),
Order of finish: Doubles (2, 1, 3); Singles (1, 3, 6, 4, 2, 5)