#10 Illinois Earns Tough 4-3 Road Win at #23 Penn St.
March 28, 2014
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - It was a hard fought, drawn out, tennis battle that waged both outdoor and indoor at University Park, Pa., Friday afternoon, but it was an encounter that saw No. 10 Illinois emerge triumphant over No. 23 Penn State by the score 4-3.
With the team score tied at 3-3, it all came down to Julian Childers on court six, who had lost the first set. The sophomore rallied to take the next 12-of-15 games, winning 6-7(6), 6-0, 6-3, to clinch it for the Orange and Blue.
"Julian was incredibly calm playing most of his contest with the team match on the line," said Illinois head coach Brad Dancer. "Marcos did a tremendous job of helping to manage him down the stretch."
The nationally third ranked team of Tim Kopinski and Ross Guignon then closed it out against No. 28 Russell Bader and Leonard Stakhovsky in the No. 1 doubles spot, winning their eighth straight. The back and forth battle waged into a tiebreak where the Illini duo earned the 7-3 win.
In singles, Jared Hiltzik's return to the lineup did not go quite as he may have hoped, as Stakhovsky and the Nittany Lions tied it right back up at one with a 6-2, 6-2 win.
Farris Gosea pushed the Illini back out in front, getting his fourth straight-set victory over a Big Ten opponent in the process. Gosea cruised to a 6-1, 6-1 win over Russell Bader.
After Penn St. tied it once more via court four, Tim Kopinski answered the call for the Orange and Blue. The 42nd-ranked player defeated Alex Fennell 7-6(3), 7-5.
However, the Nittany Lions would simply not go away, tying the team score one last time with a win on court five. That set the stage for Childers who moved his spring dual match record to 5-3 and won his fourth straight match.
"Our guys fought hard at Penn State today," continued Dancer. "Coach Zinn is doing a great job with his team and it was a difficult match."
Thus, the Illini moved its overall record to 14-5 and achieved a 4-0 start to Big Ten Play. They'll look to ride this wave of momentum into Columbus on Sunday at 11 a.m. CT. when they challenge the No. 2 Buckeyes of Ohio State.
No. 1 -- #3 Kopinski / Guignon (ILL) def. #28 Bader / Stakhovsky (PSU), 8-7(3)
No. 2 -- Gosea / Hiltzik (ILL) vs. #54 Reilly / Young (PSU), 5-4, unfinished
No. 3 -- Jesse / Bazarnik (ILL) vs. Kohan / Lutschaunig (PSU), 8-3
No. 1 -- #50 Leonard Stakhovsky (PSU) def. #9 Jared Hiltzik (ILL), 6-2, 6-2
No. 2 -- #23 Farris Gosea (ILL) def. Russell Bader (PSU), 6-1, 6-1
No. 3 -- #42 Tim Kopinski (ILL) def. Alex Fennell (PSU), 7-6(3), 7-5
No. 4 -- Matt Barry (PSU) def. Ross Guignon (ILL), 6-3, 6-2
No. 5 -- Roman Trkulja (PSU) def. Blake Bazarnik (ILL), 2-6, 6-1, 6-4
No. 6 -- Julian Childers (ILL) def. Marc Collado Castells (PSU), 6-7(6), 6-0, 6-3