Illini tennis teams advance to semifinals at Big Ten tournament

Illini tennis teams advance to semifinals at Big Ten tournament

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — A slow start in doubles created a deficit for the Illinois men's tennis team to overcome.

But the Illini found a way to pass their first test at the Big Ten championships, rallying for a 4-2 victory against Purdue on Friday afternoon.

Illinois, the No. 2 seed, will meet No. 3 seed Penn State in today's semifinals at 1 p.m.

Even a three-set loss at the No. 1 singles position from Aleks Kovacevic couldn't derail the Illini (17-7), who received wins from Alex Brown, Zeke Clark, Vuk Budic and Gui Gomes in straight sets to skate past the Boilermakers (10-14).

Gomes clinched the win with a 7-5, 6-3 victory.

In women's tennis

Illini sweep. Illinois ran into little resistance during Friday's Big Ten tournament quarterfinals, with the third-seeded Illini sweeping sixth-seeded Minnesota, 4-0, in Lincoln, Neb.

The Illini (15-10), who face second-seeded Wisconsin in today's semifinals at 2 p.m., won both doubles matches against the Gophers, with Asuka Kawai, Sasha Belaya and Daniela Pedraza Novak each collecting straight set victories in singles.

In baseball

Native Husker shines. With his parents watching from the stands, Grant Van Scoy showed out in an 8-1 Illinois victory at Nebraska on Friday night.

The Papillion, Neb., native posted a career-high four hits, including a pair of doubles, to compile three RBI for Illinois (27-13, 7-6 Big Ten).

Andy Fisher (5-1) lasted seven innings to pick up the win, permitting only one run against the Cornhuskers despite walking seven.

In softball

Buckeyes no-hit Illini. Ohio State roughed up Illinois ace Sydney Sickels, and Morgan Ray countered with a no-hitter for the Buckeyes, who extended the Illini's Big Ten losing streak to seven games.

Sickels allowed eight runs (seven earned) on nine hits, lasting 4 2 / 3 innings in Illinois' 9-0 run-rule shortened loss on Friday night in Columbus, Ohio.

Bella Loya's walk to lead off the fifth innings was the only baserunner Ray allowed to reach in her five innings inside the circle.

Lilli Piper and Kaitlyn Coffman both clubbed two-run homers for the Buckeyes (30-14, 13-5 Big Ten), as Illinois (27-20, 6-12) dropped the series opener.

In men's golf

UI among leaders. Illinois shook off rainy conditions well enough to remain near the top of the leaderboard.

Seeking their fifth consecutive conference tournament trophy, the Illini posted a 7-over 287 during Friday's first round of the Big Ten tournament at Philadelphia Cricket Club's Wissahickon Course.

Uni High graduate Varun Chopra and Michael Feagles led Illinois with a pair of 1-over 71s that had them in a tie for eighth, as the Illini found itself in second place in the team standings, five strokes behind Purdue (2-over 282).

"The course played long (Friday)," Illinois coach Mike Small said. "The pins were tucked, the greens were fast and it was a tough day on the golf course. We didn't have our best, but I thought we persevered through a challenging round."

In track and field

Long jump fares well. Janile Rogers and Briana Driver posted top 10 showings in the women's long jump during Friday's second day action at the 110th Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa.

Rogers set an all-conditions personal record with a mark of 20 feet, 5 inches to place second overall, while Driver placed sixth with a mark of 19-91 / 2.

The Illini men's 400-meter relay team of Jason Shannon, Declan Rustay, Joe Haight and Devin Quinn finished first in their heat with a time of 40.24 seconds to qualify for today's final at 3:16 p.m.