Senior Abe Souza won his 96th career match and fifth straight Friday night.
April 22, 2011
URBANA, Ill. - In the first of two home matches to end the regular season, the 18th-ranked Illini (14-9, 6-3 Big Ten) were edged by No. 23 Minnesota (16-4, 7-2), 4-3, Friday afternoon at Atkins Tennis Center. The loss drops Illinois to fourth place in the Big Ten standings heading into the finale on Sunday, while Minnesota is now in sole possession of third place. In a battle of unbeatens, Ohio State defeated Indiana earlier today, 5-2, to secure first place, while Indiana drops to second.
"We got great leadership from our guys in terms of what to do, but we didn't execute and stay calm when we needed to and just lost control of things out there," head coach Brad Dancer said. "We've got to rebound and play a good match against Wisconsin. I think everyone will certainly be gravely disappointed after this match."
Sophomore KU Singh got the Illini on the board in singles with a swift two-set victory over Sebastian Gallego, 6-2, 6-1, before No. 98 senior Johnny Hamui gave the squad a 2-1 advantage with a defeat of Phillip Arndt, 6-3, 6-4. Fellow senior Abe Souza added the final win of the night, as he rallied back to top Julian Dehn, 2-6, 6-4, 6-1, to collect his fifth straight win, 22nd of the season and 96th of his career. He is now tied for 13th with Ryan Rowe for most career singles wins.
The loss snaps a 20-match winning streak against the Gophers dating back to the 1995-96 season.
Illinois returns to action Sunday to close out the regular season against Wisconsin at noon at Atkins Tennis Center. Seniors Johnny Hamui, Connor Roth and Abe Souza will be recognized in between doubles and singles for their achievements as members of the UI tennis team.
#23 Minnesota 4, #18 Illinois 3
1. #100 Tobias Wernet (MINN) def. #10 Dennis Nevolo (ILL) 6-3, 4-6, 6-2
2. Rok Bonin (MINN) def. Roy Kalmanovich (ILL) 7-5, 7-6 (7-0)
3. KU Singh (ILL) def. Sebastian Gallego (MINN) 6-2, 6-1
4. #98 Johnny Hamui (ILL) def. Phillip Arndt (MINN) 6-3, 6-4
5. Brendan Ruddock (MINN) def. Stephen Hoh (ILL) 3-6, 6-2, 6-2
6. #74 Abe Souza (ILL) def. Julian Dehn (MINN) 2-6, 6-4, 6-1
1. #88 Phillip Arndt/Sebastian Gallego (MINN) def. Abe Souza/Stephen Hoh (ILL) 8-6
2. Rok Bonin/Julian Dehn (MINN) def. KU Singh/Johnny Hamui (ILL) 8-6
3. Brian Alden/Dennis Nevolo (ILL) def. Tobias Wernet/Brendan Ruddock (MINN) 8-6
Order of finish: Doubles (3,1,2); Singles (3,4,5,6,1,2)