Junior Ryan Rowe grabbed his first career Big Ten Athlete of the Week honor after leading Illinois to wins over No. 20 Texas A&M and No. 8 Florida.
Feb. 14, 2007
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Junior Ryan Rowe was named Big Ten Athlete of the Week for the week ending Feb. 11, the conference office announced today. Rowe is coming off a stellar week of action, leading the No. 7 Illinois men's tennis team to victories over a pair of top-25 opponents.
Rowe earns his first career weekly honor after helping the Illini to back-to-back wins over No. 20 Texas A&M (6-1) and No. 8 Florida (6-1). Ranked 11th in the nation in singles, the junior is currently on a seven-match win streak, not having dropped a match since beginning the dual-match season against No. 10 Pepperdine.
Against A&M, defending NCAA doubles champions Rowe and Kevin Anderson made their dual-match debut. The pair did not need long to show championship form in their 8-4 victory over Bryan Wooten and Brett Joelson of Texas A&M. In his No. 2 singles match, Rowe easily handled the Aggies' Clay Donato with a 6-2, 6-3 triumph to move the Illini to within a point of clinching the team victory. Against Florida, Rowe fought off the Gators' 16th-ranked Greg Ouellette in a momentous first-set tiebreaker (7-2) before closing out the match with a strong 6-3 win in the second frame.
Overall, Rowe is 13-4 on the season and 7-3 against nationally-ranked opponents. His performances this past week improved his No. 2 singles mark to 5-0 on the season, while he owns a 2-0 clip in the No. 3 slot. He is the second Illini to be honored this season after Anderson claimed the award on Jan. 24.
Rowe and the Illini will next be action when they open play at the 2007 USTA/ITA National Men's Team Indoor Championship at the Midtown Tennis Center in Chicago. Illinois opens the tournament with a match against No. 11 Oklahoma State at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 16.