Illini Extend Streak With Win Over Indiana
The University of Illinois men's tennis team, ranked No. 2 in the country, made quick work of Indiana today at the Atkins Tennis Center, jumping out to a quick 5-0 advantage before the Hoosiers claimed the final two matches to make the final score 5-2. The Illini have now won 27 straight against Big Ten schools and 19 consecutive matches at home.
"Indiana is a very good team and I was concerned that our team would overlook them," said Head Coach Craig Tiley. "But once again, the guys found a way to step it up and win. Each player has done a remarkable job in preparing and competing and this success is a direct result."
Illinois continued its doubles dominance, claiming the doubles point and a 1-0 advantage for the 12th consecutive match. At the top spot, Illinois' third-ranked duo of Oliver Freelove and Cary Franklin won their 12th straight match and improved to 27-7 on the season with an easy 8-3 win over the pair of Montilla/Smiley. With 27 wins, the Illini duo is just one win shy of the school record of 28 wins set by the pair of Peter Bouton and Mike Meyer in 1983.
At the No. 2 spot, Jeff Laski continued to build on his school record for individual doubles wins in a season, moving to 33-10 on the season. Laski teamed with Jamal Parker to beat Indiana's Rakvica/Jacobson, 8-5, as the Illini duo is now a perfect 12-0 on the season.
Illinois quickly swept to four straight-set wins in singles to seal the match. At No. 1 singles, Freelove surpassed his win total of a year ago by improving to 27-14 on the year with a 6-1, 6-3, defeat of Ian Arons. Mike Kosta continued his pursuit of the freshman record for singles wins by routing Paul Jacobson, 6-1, 6-2, at the No. 5 spot to improve to 25-7 on the year, just four wins shy of the record.
Cary Franklin earned the clinching victory with a straight-set win over Gabe Montilla, 7-5, 6-2, at the No. 2 spot. Franklin has won 19 of his last 21 matches and 14 straight against Big Ten competition dating to last season. He is now 28-9 on the season and 19-2 in all dual matches.
This Illini squad is the fastest in school history to 20 victories, as it improves to 20-2 on the year, 8-0 in the conference. Only five teams in school history have reached the 20-win plateau and this squad is just three wins shy of the school record for wins in a season.
Illinois will honor the winningest senior class in school history on Sunday at 1 p.m. at the Atkins, as the Illini welcome SEC-power Kentucky, ranked No. 13, for the regular season home finale.