Illini tennis team can't spring upset
By The News-Gazette
URBANA — There’s a reason the Virginia men’s tennis team is undefeated and ranked No 1. No. 15 Illinois can attest to that after taking on the powerful Cavaliers on Sunday afternoon in a nonconference dual meet at Atkins Tennis Center.
With three top 12-ranked players in its singles lineup, Virginia dropped only one set while rolling to a 7-0 victory.
With the win, the Cavaliers (11-0) capped a stretch of four dual meets in seven days — all on the road and all against opponents ranked in the Top 20. Among their victims were No. 11 Texas A&M, No. 14 Texas and No. 19 Baylor.
“They put together a really, really tough stretch for themselves in Texas,” Illini coach Brad Dancer said. “So the fact that they pretty much took care of business across the board (Sunday) shows how good they are.”
Next up for Illinois (7-5) is the nation’s No. 2 team, Southern California, which visits Atkins at 3 p.m. Monday.
“USC is a great team, and they’ve got some tremendous ball strikers,” Dancer said. “It’ll be a huge challenge for us, no question.”
The Illini’s lone triumph against Virginia came in doubles, and it was a big one. The 36th-ranked tandem of Ross Guignon and Tim Kopinski knocked off the second-ranked duo of Jarmere Jenkins and Mac Styslinger 8-4. Guignon and Kopinski have won their last six doubles matches and are 3-0 against ranked doubles teams.
In singles, freshman Brian Page was the lone Illini to win a set. The Wheaton native rallied before falling to Julen Uriguen 6-4, 6-7, 6-1 at No. 6 singles.
Top-ranked Alex Domijan (23-2) fended off Kopinski 6-3, 6-4 at No. 2 singles.
“Domijan is really overpowering, but I was most impressed with their calmness under adversity,” Dancer said. “I don’t think anybody on their team panicked. They were just a little more composed than we were today.”