Freshman Dennis Nevolo clinched the win to advance the Illini to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
May 8, 2009
URBANA, Ill. - The No. 13-seed Illinois men's tennis team easily took care of business in the first round of the NCAA Tournament against Western Michigan, defeating the Broncos 4-0, at the Khan Outdoor Tennis Complex this afternoon. With the win, the Illini improve to 22-8, while Western Michigan, making their fourth straight NCAA Tournament appearance, finishes their season 18-9.
"I think the doubles and singles mirrored each other this afternoon," Illinois head coach Brad Dancer said. "We had really good starts across the board in doubles and singles, but it seemed like we had a momentarily lapse in focus, which is frustrating as a coach. At the same time I saw the guys regroup and finish strong in doubles and singles."
Illinois has advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament since 1999, when the tournament opened to a 64-team field.
After a delay due to inclement weather, the Illini came out of the gates fired up in doubles. At No. 1 doubles, the 21st-ranked Illinois duo of Dennis Nevolo and Ruan Roelofse built a 5-1 lead, while at No. 2 doubles, the 41st-ranked tandem of Marc Spicijaric and Marek Czerwinski took an early 6-1 advantage over the Broncos. On court three, Illinois' Meedo El Tabakh and Brian Livingston grabbed an early 3-1 lead.
The Orange and Blue sealed the doubles point victory with wins at Nos. 1 and 2.
In singles, the Illini continued their charge. Sophomore Roy Kalmanovich, ranked No. 50 in the country, took a quick straight sets victory over Western Michigan's Michael Calderone at No. 2 singles. While senior and No. 73-ranked Marc Spicijaric went back-and-forth with the Bronco's Kevin Hayward in the first set at No. 1 singles. Spicjaric polished off Hayward 6-3, 6-1, to inch the Illini closer to victory.
Big Ten Freshman of the Year Dennis Nevolo put the final touches on the win at No. 3 singles for Illinois. The 39th-ranked Gurnee, Ill., native battled with Kazuya Komada (WMU), before notching a 6-2, 6-2 win, to clinch the match for the Illini.
Illinois advances to play No. 21 Louisville in the second round on Saturday, May 9 at 3 pm CT, at the Khan Outdoor Tennis Complex. The Cardinals moved on the second round with a 4-3 win over the Wisconsin Badgers earlier today at the Atkins Tennis Center.
Live scoring will be available at fightingillini.com. Admission is $5 dollars for adults and $3 dollars for students.
#13 University of Illinois 4, Western Michigan 0
5/8/2009 at Urbana, Ill. (Khan Outdoor Tennis Complex)
1. #73 Marc Spicijaric (ILL) def. Kevin Hayward (WMU) 6-3, 6-1
2. #50 Roy Kalmanovich (ILL) def. Michael Calderone (WMU) 6-3, 6-4
3. #39 Dennis Nevolo (ILL) def. Kazuya Komada (WMU) 6-2, 6-2
4. Marek Czerwinski (ILL) vs. Casey Cullen (WMU) 6-2, 5-1, unfinished
5. Abe Souza (ILL) vs. Zeyad Montasser (WMU) 6-2, 4-2, unfinished
6. Ruan Roelofse (ILL) vs. Pablo Olivarez (WMU) 6-1, 4-5, unfinished
1. #21 Dennis Nevolo/Ruan Roelofse (ILL) def. Michael Calderone/Kazuya Komada (WMU) 8-4
2. #41 Marc Spicijaric/Marek Czerwinski (ILL) def. Kevin Hayward/Zeyad Montasser (WMU) 8-4
3. Meedo El Tabakh/Brian Livingston (ILL) vs. Casey Cullen/Pablo Olivarez (WMU) 6-5, unfinished