Illini Serve Up 4-3 Win Over MSU
April 7, 2013
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Illini (12-8, 5-2 B1G) bounced back from a tough loss to Michigan on Saturday by serving up a 4-3 victory over the Michigan State Spartans (9-11, 3-4 B1G) this afternoon. Illinois won their third straight doubles point to start the match before Jared Hiltzik, Stephen Hoh and Farris Gosea clinched it for the Orange and Blue in singles.
"The team played with better focus today, more intent, especially in a very difficult environment to compete in," said Illinois Head Coach Brad Dancer. "Michigan State played a great match, had great fans and it was a true test to our team's resiliency at this point in the season. The team responded well to a frustrating loss and we look forward to the challenge of playing Ohio State on Friday."
The fate of the doubles point today was up to the Illini teams on courts one and two after Brian Page and Bruno Abdelnour fell to Drew Lied and John Patrick Mullane 8-5. Farris Gosea and Tim Kopinski, who have only teamed up twice this season, moved to 3-0 as a doubles pair after defeating Gijs Linders and Harry Jadun 8-4. Next, Alex Jesse and Jared Hiltzik secured the point with a 8-6 win over Aaron Pfister and Denis Bogatov.
"In doubles we're doing a better job of keeping our composure and executing simple fundamentals," stated Dancer.
It was a back and forth scoring affair after singles competition began, but the Illini always found a way to regain the lead. Denis Bogatov evened the score after beating Abdelnour 6-3, 6-1 on court three. However, Illinois countered with a 6-2, 6-3 Gosea victory on court six.
Michigan State's Mullane tied the score for the second time when he bested Ross Guignon 6-2, 6-4 on court four. Yet the Orange and Blue had the answer once more as Stephen Hoh pushed the Illini out front. After a hard fought 7-6(4) first set win, the senior cruised to a 6-0 second set clincher.
Next, freshman Jared Hiltzik delivered the decisive point when he emerged triumphant over Aaron Pfister by the score of 6-4, 3-6, 6-2 , in the number one position.
"It was great for Jared to clinch that match today," continued Dancer. "He served well down the stretch and executed his game plan against a tough opponent, in difficult conditions."
The Orange and Blue will now return to the comfy confines of the Atkins Tennis Center for three straight Big Ten matches. First up, the Illini will look to knock off another top-5 opponent when they host #5 Ohio State on Friday, at 3 p.m. CT. Then, Illinois concludes the weekend with a Sunday matchup vs. Penn State at 12 p.m. CT.
No. 1 -- #42 Jared Hiltzik (ILL) def. Aaron Pfister (MSU) - 6-4, 3-6, 6-2
No. 2 -- Drew Lied (MSU) def. Tim Kopinski (ILL) - 6-3, 6-7(4), 7-6(1)
No. 3 -- Denis Bogatov (MSU) def. Bruno Abdelnour (ILL) - 6-3, 6-1
No. 4 -- John Patrick Mullane (MSU) def. Ross Guignon (ILL) - 6-2, 6-4
No. 5 -- Stephen Hoh (ILL) def. Gijs Linders (MSU) - 7-6(4), 6-0
No. 6 -- Farris Gosea (ILL) def. Harry Jadun (MSU) - 6-2, 6-3
No. 1 -- #61 Tim Kopinski/Farris Gosea (ILL) def. Gijs Linders/Harry Jadun (MSU), 8-4
No. 2 -- Alex Jesse/Jared Hiltzik (ILL) vs. Aaron Pfister/Denis Bogatov (MSU), 8-6
No. 3 -- Drew Lied/John Patrick Mullane (MSU) def. Brian Page/Bruno Abdelnour (ILL), 8-5