Five Illini Win in Singles on Day Two at Olympia Fields
Sept. 15, 2012
OLYMPIA FIELDS, Ill. - The Fighting Illini men's tennis team bounced back after a rough start Saturday to finish day two of the Olympia Fields Country Club Fighting Illini Invitational with six singles wins, including two by freshman Jared Hiltzik.
"I was happy about how the team bounced back after the morning," head coach Brad Dancer said. "We talked about the attitude and the standard by which we have to perform, and I don't think we did that overall as a team. I think we had some good individual performances. Jared looked good today, and Stephen (Hoh) had a good rebound in the afternoon."
The Orange and Blue struggled in the day's opening round, going 1-6. Hiltzik managed to avoid the Illinois shutout, however, posting a dominant 6-4, 6-1 victory over Kevin Lai of Kentucky to mark the newcomer's first singles win as an Illini.
In the following round, Illinois showed its resiliency, going 5-2 to close out the day. Hiltzik continued his success with a swift 6-4, 6-0 victory over California's Campbell Johnson, while fellow freshman Alex Jesse picked up his first win for the Orange and Blue with a 6-3, 6-4 decision over Pepperdine's Damian Gryzelko.
After a straight-set loss to start the day, senior Stephen Hoh returned to his winning ways with a 6-2, 6-1 win over California's Gregory Bayane. Sophomore Farris Gosea followed that up with his first singles victory of the season, a 7-6(3), 6-3 win over Lai, and fellow sophomore Tim Kopinski ended the day on a high note for the Illini, coming out on top in a 6-1, 1-6, 6-1 battle with Texas' Alex Hilliard.
"Again, I was pleased with the way the team responded in the afternoon," Dancer said. "But you don't always have second chances in athletics. Today we did, but tomorrow, we won't. We'll have to see how we respond."
Illinois will return to the court tomorrow at 9 a.m. CT for round three of doubles, followed by round four of singles.