Clinch no cinch for Nevolo, Illini

ATLANTA — Second-ranked Dennis Nevolo defeated ninth-ranked Kevin King in straight sets to lift No. 15 Illinois to a 4-3 victory against No. 19 Georgia Tech on Monday in an ITA Kick-Off Weekend consolation men's tennis match.

The Yellow Jackets rallied from a 3-1 deficit to tie the match, leaving the outcome to No. 1 singles. Nevolo responded with a 6-4, 6-4 victory, handing King his first loss in four matches.

"I have to give Illinois credit," Georgia Tech coach Kenny Thorne said. "We both had tough losses yesterday, and they fought us today on our home court and came through with a win,"

After losing the doubles point, the Illini (4-1) rode the bottom half of their singles lineup to a 3-1 lead against the Yellow Jackets (1-3). Junior Bruno Abdelnour at No. 4 singles, freshman Tim Kopinski at No. 5, and freshman Farris Gosea at No. 6 each won in straight sets.

Illinois returns to action Friday for a road match against No. 10 Duke.

In soccer:

Illini headed to Spain. Illinois sophomore Vanessa DiBernardo was selected to compete for the U.S. U-20 women's team at the Four Nations Tournament. The tournament runs Friday through Feb. 15 in La Manga, Spain.

"I am excited for and extremely proud of Vanessa and this accomplishment," Illinois coach Janet Rayfield said. "If you look at the U-20 World Cup Qualifying roster, it is an exceptionally talented group and to challenge for and make this roster is a fantastic achievement."

The 20-player American squad opens competition Feb. 9 against Switzerland.

In men's gymnastics:

Big Ten honors Ruggeri. For the eighth time in his career, Illini senior Paul Ruggeri was named Big Ten Men's Gymnast of the Week, the conference announced Monday.

The Manlius, N.Y., native earned two event titles Saturday to lead No. 2 Illinois to a victory against No. 1 Oklahoma and No. 7 Michigan in a triangular at Huff Hall. Ruggeri placed first in the high bar with a score of 16.000 and in the vault (15.100).

In the process, Ruggeri passed UI head coach Justin Spring for fourth place on the school's all-time titles list with 60 career wins.

The weekly award was Ruggeri's first of the season.

In women's gymnastics:

Weinstein earns award. Illini junior Alina Weinstein earned Big Ten Women's Gymnast of the Week honors for the first time in her career Monday following a career-best meet at Michigan.

The Plainsboro, N.J., native scored a career-high 39.400 in the all-around for one of three titles in No. 14 Illinois' loss Friday against the No. 19 Wolverines. In addition, Weinstein placed first in uneven parallel bars (9.875) and balance beam (9.825).

Her all-around score tied the ninth-best mark in program history. Weinstein also recorded career-best scores while tying for third in the vault (9.825) and floor (9.875).

In women's track & field:

League cites Richartz. Illini sophomore Stephanie Richartz was named Big Ten Women's Field Athlete of the Week on Monday after setting her third consecutive school record of the season in the indoor pole vault.

The Island Lake native finished first at the Mark Colligan Memorial Invitational on Saturday in Lincoln, Neb., by clearing 13 feet, 812 inches. The mark ranks seventh in the nation and No. 1 in the Big Ten.

Richartz, who has three wins in the pole vault this season, earned the weekly award for the first time in her career.

In baseball:

Illini add to class. Two high school infielders will join the program in the fall of 2012 as invited walk-ons, Illini coach Dan Hartleb announced Monday.

Richie Gorski of Streamwood and Zack Kolakowski of Inverness bring the number of members in the Illini's Class of 2012 to 10.

The 6-foot-2, 185-pound Gorski hit .405 with five home runs and 36 RBI last spring, helping lead Streamwood to a Class 3A sectional championship and an Upstate Eight Conference title.

Kolakowski, who attends Palatine Fremd, hit .342 last season while limiting his strikeouts to 10 in 120 at-bats.

Both are right-handed batters.

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