Sophomore Brian Page delivered a singles victory for Illinois in the win over Michigan, which then helped send the Illini to National Indoors
Jan. 30, 2014
URBANA, Ill. - The No. 19 Fighting Illini men’s tennis team continue another weekend of strong competition on the road, as they travel to North Carolina to face No. 15 Duke Friday night at 5:00 p.m. CT and No. 36 North Carolina Saturday night at 5:00 p.m. CT.
The Illini return to action after winning their ITA kickoff bracket, securing a spot in the National Indoor Championships for the first time since 2011.
The Illini are 13-5 all-time against Duke. Last season the Illini upset No. 5 Duke 4-3 at home inside the Atkins Tennis Center. Illinois claimed all four of its points from singles. Tim Kopinski, Ross Guignon and Bruno Abdelnour contributed big wins as Jared Hiltzik claimed the decisive point in a 7-6 (7), 4-6. 6-3 victory over Fred Saba.
Illinois faces North Carolina for the first time since their NCAA Regional matchup in 2011. The Illini defeated the Tar Heels 4-1 to reach the NCAA Championships. The Orange and Blue’s record against North Carolina is 3-4.
SCOUTING THE OPPONENTS
The (3-2) Blue Devils boast a talented squad that rank 15th in the nation. Duke also enters the meet having qualified for the National Indoor Championships.
Duke’s top singles player Michael Redlicki sits 29th in the nation and has a 9-4 record, but the sophomore is just 1-4 against nationally ranked opponents this season. The Illini will be the second highest ranked team Duke has faced this season, behind a 3-4 loss to No. 9 Kentucky.
No. 36 North Carolina (5-1) boasts the highest ranked individual the Illini will face this weekend in No. 17 Ronnie Schnieder. Schnieder leads a quality team that suffered its first loss last weekend to Duke 4-2. North Carolina is 2-1 versus teams ranked in the top-50 this season, with wins over No. 31 VCU and No. 50 San Diego State.
ITA KICKOFF RECAP
The Illini men’s tennis team will return to the National Indoor Championships for the first time since 2011. Illinois punched its ticket to Houston with a 4-0 sweep over #25 Clemson and then a 4-2 victory over Big Ten rival #26 Michigan.
#4 Jared Hiltzik surrendered just seven combined games over the weekend, as he and #46 Tim Kopinski picked up two straight-set victories. The Illini only needed its top-three players to knock off Clemson in singles. Against Michigan, Blake Bazarnik delivered the clincher in his first dual match in over two years. #27 Bazarnik and Farris Gosea were the lone Illini duo to win both their doubles matches.
Fans will be able to see the No. 22 Illini for the first time at home Feb. 5-9. Illinois will host three matches against strong competition beginning with No. 29 Notre Dame on Wednesday at 6:00 p.m. CT. In a quick turnaround the Illini will face No.11 Texas A&M Friday at 6:00 p.m. CT before hosting No. 20 Texas Saturday at 12:00 p.m. CT.
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