Saturday, May 8, 2010

Illini earn spot for ITA National Indoor Team Championship

January 31, 2010
Another day at the Atkins Tennis Center for the ITA Kickoff and another match with a score that doesn't tell the whole story.

It was Illinois vs. Washington for the final round of the ITA Kickoff event, a playoff for a spot at the ITA Men's National Team Championship.  The Illini once again took the doubles point, with simultaneous wins from Johnny Hamui & Dennis Nevolo at No. 1 and Abe Souza & Connor Roth at No. 2.   The "energy" that Coach Brad Dancer described the team as having in doubles would continue.  They would also take all the singles matches, but Washington  did not make the sweep easy.

For the second consecutive day, it was Marek Czerwinski who led the Illini to their first singles victory in straight sets.  It wouldn't be long before Abe Souza would do the same and Dennis Nevolo would seal the victory, but -- even though they had lost the match -- Coach Matt Anger's team held tough.  It would be another hour and a half before they all went down with a fight to the finish.

On court six, Illinois' Connor Roth had an easy first set over Brad Banor, but the tide changed in the second with Banor in command.  The third set was back to Roth, and he had his team's fifth point.  It would be awhile longer for Johnny Hamui.  While his team was mostly finished (or in the third set), he had been in a first set battle with Kyle McMorrow.  That would continue to be the path of the match, through a 7/4 tiebreaker for Hamui.  The second set was tight from start to finish, but this one went to the Huskies.  With a 10 point tiebreaker deciding the match (since it was already clinched), Hamui took complete control -- and every point -- for the win.

We would have to wait a bit longer for the final match.  Stephen Hoh and Washington's Tobi Obernaus were at No. 5 singles in a back and forth match through a 6-2 set for Obernaus and a 6-3 set for Hoh.  The third, however, was up for grabs.  Though Hoh broke and went for the match at 5-3, it took another two games before he had the victory.

In the afternoon consolation, Virginia Tech won over Boise State4-3 (it was actually clinched at 4-2).

Illinois 7, Washington 0 Dennis Nevolo (IL) def. Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan (WASH), 6-4,6-2
Johnny Hamui (IL) def. Kyle McMorrow (WASH), 7-6(4),5-7,1-0 (10-0)
Marek Czerwinski (IL) def. Derek Drabble (WASH), 6-0,6-3
Abe Souza (IL) def. Martin Kildahl (WASH), 6-1,6-3
Stephen Hoh (IL) def. Tobi Obenaus (WASH), 2-6,6-3,6-4
Connor Roth (IL) def. Brad Bator (WASH), 6-2,3-6,6-2
Johnny Hamui/Dennis Nevolo (IL) def. Derek Drabble/Martin Kildahl (WASH), 8-6
Marek Czerwinski/Stephen Hoh (IL) vs. Kyle McMorrow/J. Nedunchezhiyan (WASH), 6-7, Did Not Finish
Abe Souza/Connor Roth (IL) def. Tobi Obenaus/Brad Bator (WASH), 8-5

Next up for the Fighting Illini men is a dual match at Duke on February 5th.
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