Junior Abe Souza clinched the win with his career-best 35th victory of the season.
May 14, 2010
URBANA, Ill. - The Illini men's tennis team (20-10) improved to 11-1 all-time in NCAA first-round matches when hosting with a 4-0 victory over Xavier (17-8) Friday afternoon at the Khan Outdoor Tennis Complex. Illinois advances to the second round of the NCAA Championships and will battle Big Ten rival Wisconsin on Saturday at 2 p.m. with a trip to the Sweet 16 on the line. The Illini have advanced to the Sweet 16 the last eight years and defeated the Badgers in their only meeting of the season, 4-3 on March 21 in Madison. With the win, head coach Brad Dancer also secured his fifth-straight 20-win season at the helm for Illinois.
"It was a good match for us today," assistant coach Marcos Asse said. "The guys took it seriously and went after them. They played their games and imposed their games on Xavier. Xavier fought hard up and down the lineup and you can see why they won the Atlantic 10. They're a strong team, we just played better."
In doubles, junior Johnny Hamui and sophomore Dennis Nevolo put up a dominating performance at the two spot to swiftly defeat Anthony Palmenter and Brian Starr, 8-1. Battles ensued on the two remaining courts before junior Connor Roth and freshman Stephen Hoh sealed the doubles point with an 8-6 victory over Bobby Deye and JT Torbeck. It was a similar story in singles as the Illini claimed the first set on five of six courts en route to a 4-0 victory behind wins from No. 47 Nevolo, No. 81 junior Abe Souza and Hoh.
Souza's sixth-straight victory was his team-and career-best 35th of the season and ties him with Cary Franklin and Jakub Teply for seventh all-time for most wins in a single season. Nevolo's win in doubles improves his career-best total to a team-high 30 this season and he is now tied for 16th in school history for most doubles wins in a season.
#13 Illinois 4, Xavier 0
1. #76 Marek Czerwinski (ILL) vs. Chris Herrlinger (XU) 6-2, 3-4, unfinished
2. #47 Dennis Nevolo (ILL) def. Richard Canelas (XU) 6-1, 6-1
3. #81 Abe Souza (ILL) def. Patrick Bandy (XU) 6-0, 6-2
4. Johnny Hamui (ILL) vs. Bobby Deye (XU) 4-4, unfinished
5. Stephen Hoh (ILL) def. JT Torbeck (XU) 6-0, 6-1
6. Bruno Abdelnour (ILL) vs. Brandon MacDonald (XU) 6-0, 3-4, unfinished
1. #69 Marek Czerwinski/Abe Souza (ILL) vs. Patrick Bandy/Chris Herrlinger (XU) 8-7, unfinished
2. Dennis Nevolo/Johnny Hamui (ILL) def. Anthony Palmenter/Brian Starr (XU) 8-1
3. Connor Roth/Stephen Hoh (ILL) def. Bobby Deye/JT Torbeck (XU) 8-6
Order of finish: Doubles (2,3); Singles (2,5,3)