OSU Halts Illini Finals Bid with 4-0 Win
April 27, 2013
COLUMBUS, Ohio. – The Illini men's tennis team had the tall task of trying to knock off a Ohio State team that had not lost a conference match since last year's Big Ten Tournament title match vs. Illinois. The Buckeyes proved too strong today, denying the Illini's seventh trip to the title match under head coach Brad Dancer with a 4-0 win.
"Ohio State played a more complete match then we did today," said Dancer. "I don't feel either side played their best today, but OSU managed their miscues better than we did. Bruno played with great focus today and was in the middle of a high quality match with another senior Connor Smith. Stephen Hoh seemed to regain a little bit of form as his match progressed."
Top-seed Ohio State started the day by claiming the doubles point with victories on court one and two. In a battle of two top ranked pairs, #14 Kobelt/Smith got the upper hand against #13 Guignon/Kopinski with an 8-2 win.
Next, #75 McCarthy/Van Engelen snapped the 10 match winning streak of #85 Hiltzik/Jesse, handing them their first loss against a conference opponent with an 8-5 score.
The Buckeyes went on to claim three points in singles play to advance to the next round. #12 Blaz Rola, whose only lost this season was against Jared Hiltzik, squared off this time and defeated sophomore Tim Kopinski 6-1, 6-0 on court two. Rounding out the scoring was Ille Van Engelen's 6-3, 6-3 win over Farris Gosea on court five and #95 Chris Diaz's 7-5, 6-1 victory over Alex Jesse on court six.
#31 Jared Hiltzik was poised for his fourth top-25 upset win this morning vs. #9 Peter Kobelt. The Big Ten Freshman of the Year took the first set 6-3, dropped the second set 4-6, but was ahead 4-3 in the third when the match was called.
In addition, Stephen Hoh's bid to snap the 18-match win streak of #88 Devin McCarthy also went unfinished. The senior lost the first set 5-7 but bounced back with a 6-3 second set. McCarthy was up 1-0 in the third.
Finally, Bruno Abdelnour's match was also called off after the senior was down 1-0 in the third set. #67 Connor Smith sprinted out of the gate with a 6-1 first set but Abdelnour rallied with a 7-5 second set.
The Orange and Blue will now await their NCAA Tournament fate. The men's tennis selection show is this Tuesday at 4 p.m. CT.
"We understand the difficult road in front of us, but we have a number of strong competitors and good character men that will be up for the challenge," concluded Dancer.
No. 1 -- #31 Jared Hiltzik (ILL) vs. #9 Peter Kobelt (OSU) - 6-3, 4-6, 4-3 unfinished
No. 2 -- #12 Blaz Rola (OSU) def. Tim Kopinski (ILL) - 6-1, 6-0
No. 3 -- #67 Connor Smith (OSU) vs. Bruno Abdelnour (ILL) - 6-1, 5-7, 1-0 unfinished
No. 4 -- #88 Devin McCarthy (OSU) vs. Stephen Hoh (ILL) - 7-5, 3-6, 1-0 unfinished
No. 5 -- Ille Van Engelen (OSU) def. Farris Gosea (ILL) - 6-3, 6-3
No. 6 -- #95 Chris Diaz (OSU) def. Alex Jesse (ILL) - 7-5, 6-1
No. 1 -- #14 Kobelt/Smith (OSU) def. #13 Guignon/Kopinski (ILL) - 8-2
No. 2 -- #75 McCarthy/Van Engelen (OSU) def. #85 Hiltzik/Jesse (ILL) - 8-5
No. 3 -- #46 Rola/Metka (OSU) vs. Gosea/Abdelnour (ILL) - 6-3 unfinished