Saturday's UI roundup: No. 8 Tar Heels edge out Illini

Saturday's UI roundup: No. 8 Tar Heels edge out Illini

CHAMPAIGN — Alex Brown nearly completed the rally Illinois men's tennis desperately needed Saturday night to pick up its second ranked win of the still-young dual season.

The sophomore just couldn't quite close the door.

Brown, after giving up his first set 6-4, evened things with a 7-6 win in the second but fell 6-4 in a heartbreaking final set that allowed No. 8 North Carolina to escape with a 4-3 road victory over No. 14 Illinois.

The Tar Heels started out dominant, picking up two quick victories in doubles along with the opening point. It marked the first time in four matches this season that Illinois didn't enter singles play with a 1-0 lead.

Freshman Keenan Mayo (6-4, 6-2) and sophomore Caleb Chakravarthi (6-3, 6-3) each sped to straight-set singles wins to push Illinois back ahead.

After Illinois dropped two more matches, and junior Aleks Kovacevic won a three-set thriller (4-6, 6-2, 6-3), all eyes turned to Brown's match against UNC's Benjamin Sigouin with the score tied 3-3.

Brown kept things as close as 4-4 before ultimately conceding the last two points.

In men's golf.

Illini place third. Top-seeded Illinois stumbled against No. 4 Ohio State in Saturday's semifinals of the Big Ten Match Play Championship in Hammock Beach, Fla.

Freshman Adrien Dumont de Chassart carded a 5 and 4 victory, while junior Bryan Baumgarten and sophomore Brendan O'Reilly each matched their foes, but three decisive wins keyed the victory for the Buckeyes, who later topped Maryland to win the league's match play crown.

The Illini, however, rebounded in the third-place match, beating Nebraska 5-1 with Dumont de Chassart claiming his second win of the day — 4 and 3 — and Illinois also receiving wins from Michael Feagles, Bryan Baumgarten, Giovanni Tadiotto and Tommy Kuhl.

In softball.

Illini split. One day after winning both of its opening games against ranked opponents, Illinois softball got a response from one of those foes.

In the form of a defeat on Saturday.

No. 22 Oklahoma State plated six runs in the second inning and built as large as an eight-run lead before putting the Illini away, 10-6, in their third of five games in the Houston Invitational.

The Illini then sprung back for a 4-2 victory over Houston in their nightcap, breaking a 2-2 tie in the seventh inning with an unearned run followed by Carly Thomas' second RBI single of the game for Illinois (3-1).

In men's track and field

Young blood paces Illini. Freshmen Billy Matzek and Vince Shields each cracked the top 10 for shot put Saturday at the Iowa State Classic in Ames, Iowa.

Matzek, whose best throw was marked at 15.80 meters, took seventh place ahead of Shields (14.64) in ninth.

At the Tyson Invitational in Fayetteville, Ark., the Illini's 1,600 relay team also took eighth place with a time of 3 minutes, 11.15 seconds and finished one-hundredth of a second behind heat-winner Alabama.

In women's track and field.

Field athletes finish strong. Carolyn Nye cleared a personal-best 3.80 meters and tied for second in the pole vault, leading the Illini's split-team effort Saturday afternoon at the Iowa State Classic in Ames, Iowa.

Just behind her, freshman Josie Held finished fourth at 3.65 meters to round out the Illini's best finishes in Iowa.

Elsewhere, sophomore Ololade Ayoola tied for third overall in the high jump finals, clearing 1.67 meters, and junior Brenda Kendziera cleared 1.62 meters to take seventh at the Tyson Invitational in Fayetteville, Ark.