Senior Ruben Gonzales earns his third conference laurel of the season.
April 9, 2008
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Senior Ruben Gonzales of the No. 16 Illinois men's tennis team (13-6, 5-1 Big Ten) earned Big Ten Player of the Week honors for the week ending April 7, the conference office announced today. Gonzales earns his third honor of 2008 after previously garnering the distinction for the week ending March 3 and Jan. 28. The Illini senior grabbed the distinction after going a perfect 3-0 in singles and 3-0 in doubles en route to helping Illinois down No. 37 Kentucky, Penn State and then finally an upset of No. 14 Michigan this past week.
In fact, Gonzales was pivotal, if not the leader, in all of Illinois' wins to help the Illini rebound from the first conference loss of the season to Wisconsin the week prior. With the victories this past week, Illinois returned as a frontrunner for the Big Ten Conference title with a win over league-leading Michigan, and then took care of Penn State to close out the weekend.
During the team's winning streak (No. 37 Kentucky, Penn State, No. 14 Michigan), three to be exact, No. 90 Ruben went 6-0 overall, winning three doubles and three singles matches in UI's duals. During that stretch, Gonzales took down No. 63 Michael James of Penn State, and previous top-125 player Jason Jung of Michigan. With the wins, Gonzales remains perfect in conference play at 4-0, and has improved to 12-7 overall on the season - 3-4 against ranked opponents. In doubles, Gonzales also is perfect at 4-0 with two different partners in league dual play and is 15-4 overall on the season. Gonzales and partner Marc Spicijaric are perfect on the year at 3-0, and are the most recent players to join forces and take on the duties at No. 2 doubles for the Illini.
The honor is Gonzales' fourth of his career and Illinois' fourth honor of the season after Gonzales earned the last one on March 3. Sophomore Billy Heiser is the only other Fighting Illini netter to grab the distinction this season, earning his accolade for the week ending Jan. 13.
The Illini are back in conference action next weekend at the Atkins Tennis Center as they host No. 2 Ohio State on Saturday, April 12, and then No. 39 Indiana on Sunday, April 13. First serve for both matches is set for noon CT. Complete results and recaps will be available at the conclusion of each match, while live scoring is available for both contests as well. All of these features can be found on the official home of Illinois men's tennis at fightingillini.com, by clicking on the men's tennis front page.