Kopinski, Gosea Win Regional Doubles Championship
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Fighting Illini sophomores Tim Kopinski and Farris Gosea took home the USTA/ITA Midwest Regional doubles title on Monday at the MSU Indoor Tennis Facility. With the win, the pair earned an automatic bid to the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships, which will take place Nov. 8-11 at the USTA-Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y.
"Three years ago, Coach (Marcos) Asse implemented a standard for what it would take to play doubles for Illinois," head coach Brad Dancer said. "I feel that Tim and Farris were the first team to actually implement that standard on the court, and that is the reason they are regional doubles champions. They did not serve or execute well, but they stuck to their standard for the most part, and now they get to play for a national title in New York."
Eighth-seeded Kopinski and Gosea downed fifth-seeded Notre Dame tandem Spencer Talmadge and Greg Andrews to capture the doubles crown.
The title marks the first of its kind for Illinois since former Illini Dennis Nevolo and Marek Czerwinski teamed up to win the tournament in 2009 and is the fifth regional doubles championship for the Orange and Blue in the past 10 years.
"It's a great message to the rest of our team to get on the ball and start playing doubles with the standard that Coach Asse has been talking about," Dancer said.
In singles play, Kopinski and freshman Jared Hiltzik exited the tournament with straight-set losses to No. 53 Vlad Stefan (MICH) and No. 35 Peter Kobelt (OSU), respectively.
"Overall, from a tournament standpoint, our guys competed hard," Dancer said. "That's the first thing you ask for as a coach. When you look at results and where the guys are going, it seems like every single person, especially Tim and Jared today, kind of reached a tipping point, where the quality of their play and everything that they work on, started to break down. If we're going to perform better this year, we're going to have to correct some of those youthful mistakes."
Back at Atkins Tennis Center, Illini Rachael White and Melissa Kopinski, Tim's twin sister, took home the women's doubles title and will join the men's duo in New York in November.
The Orange and Blue will return to action this weekend at the Team Championships, Oct. 26-28 in College Station, Texas.
Tim Kopinski/Farris Gosea (ILL) def. Spencer Talmadge/Greg Andrews (ND) 8-5
#53 Vlad Stefan (MICH) def. Tim Kopinski (ILL) 6-2, 6-3
#35 Peter Kobelt (OSU) def. Jared Hiltzik (ILL) 7-6(2), 6-4