NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Illini men's tennis team advanced to the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament after shutting out Georgia State 4-0. The Orange and Blue remained a perfect 15-0 in the First Round after the tournament field expanded to 64 teams. In addition, in all 15 wins, the Illini shutout their opponents 4-0. The victory also marked Illinois' fifth shutout of 2013.
Now, the Illini were 11-3 during the regular season when claiming the doubles point and certainly got off to the right start for the NCAA Tournament, earning victories on courts two and three for the 1-0 lead.
Down 1-0, Alex Jesse and Jared Hiltzik took four straight games to gain the early advantage. The duo, who entered the matchup 9-1 in their last ten, went on to win 8-4.
"Alex and I have great chemistry," explained Hiltzik. "We've definitely figured out how to play doubles together. A little shaky start this morning but we got out the kinks and played better toward the end. We plan on continuing that momentum into tomorrow's match."
Farris Gosea teamed with Brian Page on court three where they got the upper hand early at 5-2. The Illini tandem wrapped up the doubles point after staving off Georgia State with a 8-5 victory.
Winning the overall match was essentially as easy as one, two, three in singles, as the Illini finished in order on those respective courts in straight sets. Thus, #32 Jared Hiltzik was the first to wrap up, dispatching #63 Victor Valente (NCAA singles qualifier) 6-3, 6-1. As a result, the Big Ten freshman of the year extended his winning streak to seven matches.
Tim Kopinski inched the Orange and Blue closer with a 6-1, 6-2 victory over Thomas Cook. Then, senior Stephen Hoh delivered the final nail in the coffin when he ousted Lucas Santa Ana 6-4, 6-2.
"I was really happy with how all the guys fought across the board," said Hoh. "Tim and Jared did a good job and took care of business at one and two before I finished it off."
Illinois will play No. 16 seed Vanderbilt on Saturday at 2 p.m. CT. The victor of that match will advance to Urbana, Ill. for the NCAA Championships and the Round of 16.
"We are definitely looking forward to tomorrow's match," continued Hiltzik. "The team is excited, and I know it's going to be a great match."
No. 1 -- #32 Jared Hiltzik (ILL) def. #63 Victor Valente (GSU) - 6-3, 6-1
No. 2 -- Tim Kopinski (ILL) def. Thomas Cook (GSU) - 6-1, 6-2
No. 3 -- Stephen Hoh (ILL) def. Lucas Santa Ana (GSU) - 6-4, 6-2
No. 4 -- Farris Gosea (ILL) vs. Robert Schulze (GSU) - 6-3, 2-3, uf
No. 5 -- Alex Jesse (ILL) vs. Paul Schuette (GSU) - 6-4, 1-6, 1-0, uf
No. 6 -- Brian Page (ILL) vs. Sofiane Chevallier (GSU) - 6-4, 5-2, uf
No. 1 -- #60 Victor Valente/Lucas Santa Ana (GSU) vs. #16 Tim Kopinski/Ross Guignon (ILL), 7-5 uf
No. 2 -- Jared Hiltzik/Alex Jesse (ILL) def. Robert Schulze/Sofiane Chevallier (GSU), 8-4
No. 3 -- Farris Gosea/Brian Page (ILL) def. Thomas Cook/Paul Schuette (GSU), 8-5