Lucas rides birdie binge to share of first place

Lucas rides birdie binge to share of first place

FRENCH LICK, Ind. — Illinois senior Nora Lucas shot a par 72 to claim a share of the lead through one round of the Big Ten women's golf tournament Friday.

Lucas led Illinois to third place, 6 strokes behind co-leaders Ohio State and Michigan State.

A six-birdie performance allowed Lucas to keep pace with Michigan State's Caroline Powers atop the leaderboard.

Katelin Dilger and Ember Schuldt of Illinois enter today's second round in a tie for 19th place after shooting 77s.

In women's tennis:

Illini await rematch. The No. 20 Illini defeated Minnesota 4-0 in the Big Ten tournament quarterfinals at Columbus, Ohio, extending their winning streak to a season-high-tying six matches.

The third-seeded Illini (18-6) will face second-seeded Michigan in the semifinals at 1 p.m. today. Illinois' lone loss in its last 13 matches was against the Wolverines.

"We looked confident and fresh today," coach Michelle Dasso said after her Illini recorded their seventh shutout of the season. "But we didn't come here just to make the semifinals."

Illini freshman Melissa Kopinski dropped one game in winning at No. 1 singles. Allison Falkin and Rachael White each won singles and doubles matches for Illinois.

In men's tennis:

Kopinski paces win. Freshman Tim Kopinski won twice to lead third-seeded Illinois to a 4-0 victory against Northwestern in the Big Ten tournament quarterfinals at Evanston.

Kopinski defeated Sidarth Balaji at No. 4 singles 6-1, 6-3 after combining with classmate Ross Guignon for an 8-5 victory at No. 2 doubles.

The 24th-ranked Illini (15-7) will face Michigan at 1:30 p.m. today in the semifinals.

Bruno Abdelnour clinched Friday's match with a 6-3, 6-3 win at No. 3 singles. Eighth-ranked Dennis Nevolo of Illinois improved to 28-7 with a 6-2, 6-2 victory at No. 1 singles.

Farris Gosea and Stephen Hoh helped the Illini win the doubles point with an 8-4 win at No. 3.

In baseball:

Johnson blanks Wildcats. Junior Kevin Johnson pitched the second shutout of his college career and the Illini took advantage of two Northwestern errors to defeat the Wildcats 2-0 in the opener of a Big Ten series at Evanston.

Johnson, who shut out Purdue as a freshman, held Northwestern to seven hits and struck out a season-high nine batters. The Illini right-hander (7-3) outdueled Francis Brooke, who pitched a complete-game five-hitter and allowed one earned run.

Illinois (23-18, 6-7 Big Ten) scored the only run it would need in the third inning when Wildcats right fielder Luke Dauch committed a fielding error on Davis Hendrickson's single. The miscue allowed Thomas Shelton to continue to the plate after advancing to third.

In men's track & field:

Riley, relay advance. Illini senior Andrew Riley, the reigning Big Ten Track Athlete of the Week, ran the fastest time in the preliminaries of the 110-meter hurdles at the Penn Relays in Philadelphia.

Riley finished in 13.63 seconds to edge LSU's Barrett Nugent by four-hundredths of a second. In the 2011 NCAA Championships, Riley placed second to Nugent in the event.

Riley also helped the Illini advance to the finals in the 400 relays. He combined with Brandon Stryganek, Josh Zinzer and Stanley Azie for the No. 2 time in the preliminaries, 39.94.

In women's track & field:

Vaulter takes second. Illini sophomore Stephanie Richartz finished second in the pole vault at the Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa. Richartz cleared 13 feet, 1 1/2 inches.

In the Penn Relays, sophomore Jesica Ejesieme advanced to the finals of the 100 hurdles by placing third in the preliminaries in 13.34.

The UI 800 relay team of Ejesieme, Ashley Kelly, Kayla Smith and Ashley Spencer also reached the finals with the fourth-fastest prelim time of 1 minute, 34.62 seconds.

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