April 2, 2009
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The 12th-ranked Illinois men's tennis team continues its tough road swing this weekend traveling to Big Ten foes Iowa on April 3 and Minnesota on April 5. The Illini (14-5, 4-0), coming off a strong 6-1 win over the Indiana Hoosiers on Mar. 31, look to continue their undefeated start to the Big Ten season. The Orange and Blue are currently tied for first place in the conference with Ohio State (21-1, 4-0).
This weekend marks the conclusion of a four-week road swing for the Orange and Blue. The win over the Hoosiers earlier in the week snapped a two-match losing streak for Illinois. In the 6-1 victory, junior Marek Czerwinski provided the Illini solid leadership in both doubles and singles. The bottom of the Illinois lineup was led by the play of sophomores Waylon Chin and Abe Souza, as each tallied a straight sets win at their respective positions.
First serve at Iowa is set for 1:30 p.m. on April 3, while the Illini take on the Gophers at 12 p.m. CT on April 5. Full recaps will be available each day at the conclusion of play.
STATE OF THE ILLINI
The Illini enter this week's Campbell's Soup / Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) with a No. 12 ranking, dropping three spots from the No. 9 slot last week. Individually, freshman Dennis Nevolo leads the Illini in the singles rankings at No. 39, followed by No. 42-ranked sophomore Roy Kalmanovich and No. 79-ranked senior Marc Spicijaric.
In doubles, Nevolo and partner Ruan Roelofse boast a No. 18-ranking, followed by the No. 49-ranked duo of Spicijaric and Marek Czerwinski. Czerwinski, when teaming up with junior Billy Heiser, ranks No. 70 in doubles.
SCOUTING THE GOPHERS
Minnesota is 14-4 overall on the year and 3-1 in the conference. The Gophers only Big Ten loss came to No. 6 Ohio State in a 7-0 defeat. Currently, Minnesota is ranked No. 33 in the Campbell's Soup / Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) poll. Freshman Ishay Hadash is ranked No. 60 in singles and has a 12-6 record thus far for the year at No. 1 singles. Sophomore Tobias Wernet has also had a strong year in singles posting a 13-4 record at No. 2 singles. Wernet is also strong in doubles, as he and doubles partner freshman Michael Sicora are ranked No. 69 in doubles with a 8-5 record on the year.
Illinois' All-time record vs. Minnesota: 36-29
Last meeting: April 18, 2008, W 5-2, at Minnesota
KEEPING AN EYE ON THE HAWKEYES
The Hawkeyes boast a 10-3 overall record on the year and a 2-2 conference record. Iowa is ranked No. 64 in the Campbell's Soup ITA poll and is currently fifth in the Big Ten standings. The Hawkeyes are led by two juniors- Tommy McGeorge who has a 10-3 singles record and Reinoud Haal who also has a 10-3 singles record for the year. The doubles team of senior Christian Bierich and sophomore Nikita Zotov are ranked No. 57 and have a 9-4 record at No. 1 doubles. At No. 3 doubles, junior Tommy McGeorge and freshman Will Vasos have recorded 12 wins and only 1 loss for the year.
Illinois' All-time record vs. Iowa: 60-22
Last meeting: April 20, 2008, W 7-0, at Iowa
The Orange and Blue return home for three matches in five days, as they welcome No. 13 Kentucky on Wednesday, April 8 at 2 p.m., followed by No. 51 Penn State on Saturday, April 11 at 12 p.m. The Illini host Big Ten rival Ohio State on Sunday, April 12, at 12 p.m. The Illini will honor their seniors in the last regular season home match against the Buckeyes.