Saturday's UI roundup: Title shots upcoming for tennis teams

Saturday's UI roundup: Title shots upcoming for tennis teams

LINCOLN, Neb. — Back-to-back sweeps have the Illinois women's tennis team in the Big Ten conference finals for the first time since 2011.

The Illini's 4-0 semifinal victory over Wisconsin on Saturday afternoon set up a championship match at noon today against top-seeded Michigan. The Wolverines won the regular season matchup 4-3 on April 7 in Urbana.

Third-seeded Illinois (16-10) received wins in doubles from the pairings of Jaclyn Switkes and Sasha Belaya and Asuka Kawai and Mia Rabinowitz. Daniella Pedraza Novak, Kawai and Switkes also picked up singles wins in straight sets.

In men's tennis

Top seeds meet in final. A rematch against top-seeded Ohio State in the Big Ten final awaits the second-seeded Illinois men's tennis team.

A year after losing 4-0 to the Buckeyes in Iowa City, Iowa, the Illini have another chance to knock off the No. 2 team in the country.

Illinois (18-7) reached today's 10 a.m. final in Ann Arbor, Mich., following a 4-2 victory over Penn State in Saturday's semifinal match.

After dropping the doubles point for the second straight match, the Illini received a bounce-back performance from Aleks Kovacevic, who started off singles with a 6-3, 6-3 victory. Zeke Clark followed with a win to make it 2-1 Illinois before Vuk Budic, Siphosothando Montsi and Alex Brown all won to clinch the match victory.

In men's golf

Illini climb to top. Illinois pushed through strong winds at Philadelphia Cricket Club on Saturday to climb into a tie for the top spot on the leaderboard.

Entering today's 18-hole final round at the Big Ten championships, the Illini and Minnesota both have identical 30-over 590 scores and lead by one stroke over third-place Purdue. Illinois is seeking its fifth consecutive conference tournament trophy.

Varun Chopra continues to be the Illini's top individual golfer. The Uni High graduate is tied for seventh at 5-over 145.

In track and field

Relays shine. Two Illinois relay teams posted top results on the famed Blue Oval at Drake University.

The Illini men's unit of Jason Shannon, Declan Rustay, Joe Haight and Devin Quinn won the men's 400-meter relay at the Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa, on Saturday, with a time of 40.20 seconds. Chisom Nwoko, Briana Driver, Sade Hargrove and Felicia Phillips recorded a time of 3 minutes, 47.85 seconds to win the women's 1,600 relay at Drake, as well.

In baseball

Huskers walk off. Joe Acker's walk-off single in the ninth inning allowed Nebraska to even the series in Lincoln, Neb., as Illinois lost 4-3 on Saturday. Illinois (27-14, 7-7 Big Ten) issued nine walks, while Jeff Korte led the Illini with two hits.

In softball

Buckeyes cruise. Ohio State scored a total of five runs across the second and third innings and cruised to an 9-2 win over Illinois on Saturday in Columbus, Ohio. Kiana Sherlund posted two hits for the Illini (27-21, 6-13) while Stephanie Abello added two RBI.

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