Illini to Start Fall Season at Olympia Fields
Sept. 12, 2012
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -The Illinois men's tennis team will kick off its fall schedule when it hosts its sixth annual Olympia Fields Country Club Fighting Illini Invitational, Sept. 14-16, on the clay courts of the Olympia Fields Country Club. The Orange and Blue will face competition from California, Kentucky, Notre Dame, Pepperdine and Texas in the three-day event.
"We've got such a young team, but what comes with that is a tremendous amount of excitement," head coach Brad Dancer said. "The guys have a lot of nervous energy and are ready to get started with their college careers, or in the case of some of the older guys, ready to prove themselves and take it to the next level. I think everybody feels they have fresh starts right now."
The 2012-13 Illini return five letterwinners from last season's squad, which won the Big Ten Tournament and advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16. Seniors Bruno Abdelnour, who is ranked No. 120 in the national preseason singles rankings, and Stephen Hoh will look to lead the Illini throughout the fall campaign. Sophomores Tim Kopinski, Ross Guignon and No. 118 Farris Gosea also return this season and are joined by newcomers Jared Hiltzik, Julian Childers, Alex Jesse and Brian Page.
The tournament will feature 10 nationally ranked singles players and a pair of ranked doubles teams. Along with Abdelnour and Gosea, No. 3 Sebastian Fanselow (PEP), No. 12 Anthony Rossi (UK), No. 24 Greg Andrews (ND), No. 45 Tom Jomby (UK), No. 63 Mousheg Hovhannisyan (PEP), No. 64 Panav Jha (UK), No. 72 Alejandro Gomez (UK) and No. 99 David Holiner (UT) will take the court this weekend. No. 8 duo Holiner and Chris Camillone (UT) and No. 34 Jomby and Rossi (UK) will also see action.
Each of the five teams Illinois will face made 2012 NCAA Tournament appearances, including semifinalist Pepperdine, which finished ranked sixth in the nation. In addition, Sweet 16 qualifiers Kentucky and California finished ranked seventh and 13th, respectively, while No. 27 Texas fell in the opening round, and No. 29 Notre Dame dropped in the round of 32.
The tournament features four rounds of singles and three rounds of doubles, beginning with round one of doubles on Friday at 9 a.m. CT. Admission is free and fans are welcome to watch at the Olympia Fields Country Club in Olympia Fields, Ill.
"It's an honor to host this tournament with the Olympia Fields Country Club," Dancer said. "The club really goes out of its way to create such a prestigious event. We're really proud to be a part of it."