Illini Open B1G Tournament With 4-1 Win Over Indiana
April 25, 2014
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Fighting Illini men's tennis team began its quest for a Big Ten Tournament title on the right note, defeating Indiana by the score of 4-1 on Friday afternoon. Illinois will now surge into the semifinal round, the winner of a season high eight straight matches. They'll battle the Michigan Wolverines on Saturday at 1 p.m. CT.
Illinois won its 14th doubles point of the season today thanks to its competitors on courts two and three. Jared Hiltzik and Farris Gosea swiftly eliminated Sven Lalic and Dimitrije Tasic 8-1. Then, Blake Bazarnik and Alex Jesse pulled out an 8-6 victory in the tiebreak to clinch the opening point.
"We showed some resiliency in doubles today," said Illinois head coach Brad Dancer. "The guys stayed focused when events turned against them."
Alex Jesse, who has come on strong late in the year, won his fifth straight today and also was the first singles competitor to finish. The sophomore moved to 8-3 this spring after defeating Chris Essick 6-4, 6-0.
#17 Farris Gosea pushed the Illinois lead to 3-0 when he followed suit with a straight set victory of his own. The Big Ten Player of the Year downed Lalic 6-3, 6-4, and has yet to lose to a Big Ten opponent this spring (11-0).
Indiana threatened when Tasic got the Hoosiers on the board, getting the upper hand against Bazarnik, 6-3, 3-6, 6-1. However, #8 Jared Hiltzik quickly put a stop to that notion when he clinched the match for the Illini with a 3-6, 7-6, 6-3 win over #113 Monette.
Due to only four courts being used at a time, #56 Tim Kopinski's and Julian Childer's matches went unfinished in the first set. Kopinski was up 5-4 while Childers just started, up 1-0, when play was stopped.
"Singles was tough," Dancer stated. "Indiana plays really hard and physical and they play with great disicpline. We are excited to move on and face Michigan tomorrow."
Up next, Illinois will face a sixth-seeded Michigan team that upset three-seed Penn State this afternoon by the score, 4-1. The Illini and Wolverines recently met on April 6 in Urbana, with the Orange and Blue earning the victory at 5-2. These two last met in the Big Ten Tournament in 2012, when the Illini went on to eventually claim the tournament crown.
No. 1 -- #53 Monette / Bednarczyk (IU) vs. #5 Kopinski / Guignon (ILL), 7-6, unfinished
No. 2 -- Hiltzik / Gosea (ILL) def. Lalic / Tasic (IU), 8-1
No. 3 -- Bazarnik / Jesse (ILL) def. Essick / Lugonic (ILL), 8-7(6)
No. 1 -- #8 Jared Hiltzik (ILL) def. #113 Sam Monette (IU), 3-6, 7-6, 6-3
No. 2 -- #17 Farris Gosea (ILL) def. Sven Lalic (IU), 6-3, 6-4
No. 3 -- #56 Tim Kopinski (ILL) vs. Daniel Bednarczyk (IU), 5-4, unfinished
No. 4 -- Dimitrije Tasic (IU) def. Blake Bazarnik (ILL), 6-3, 3-6, 6-1
No. 5 -- Alex Jesse (ILL) def. Chris Essick (IU), 6-4, 6-0
No. 6 -- Julian Childers (ILL) vs. Matthew McCoy (IU), 1-0, unfinished