April 7, 2013
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Spartan men's tennis team fell to 28th ranked Illinois in its second match of the weekend, by a narrow 4-3 margin. The doubles point proved to be the deciding factor for the Fighting Illini, with both squads taking three points in singles competition. With the loss, the Spartans are now 9-11 on the season and 3-4 in the conference. Illinois moves to 12-8 overall and 5-2 in conference play.
Despite taking the first doubles match at the No. 3 position, the Spartans were unable to hold off the Illini at No. 1 and No. 2. Junior Drew Lied and freshman JP Mullane topped Brian Page and Bruno Abdelnour 8-5, but Illinois quickly responded at the No. 2 position, where Farris Gosea and Tim Kopinski topped sophomores Gijs Linders and Harry Jadun 8-4. Alex Jesse and and Jared HIltzik clinched the point for the Illini at No. 3 with an 8-5 win over junior Aaron Pfister and and senior Denis Bogatov.
Bogatov was able to respond quickly for the Spartans in singles play, earning a 6-3, 6-1 victory over Abdelnour in the No. 3 position to tie the match at one. But the Fighting Illini were able to quickly take back the lead with a victory at No. 6, where Gosea defeated Jadun 6-2, 6-3.
The Spartans and Illini traded points once again, as MSU took the match at the No. 4 position, while Illinois sealed the point at No. 5. Mullane defeated Guignon at No. 4 6-2, 6-4 for his fourth overall victory of the weekend, while Linders was topped by Stephen Hoh 7-6, 6-0 in the No. 5 spot.
With Illinois leading 3-2, the Spartans needed victories from Aaron Pfister at No.1 and Drew Lied at No. 2 in order to clinch the match. After falling in the first set 6-2, Pfister came back to take the second set 6-3 to send the match to a third set. Hiltzik was able to earn the 6-2 victory, sealing the match for both him and the Illini.
In one of the hardest fought matches of the season, Lied earned the final point for the Spartans with a 6-3, 6-7, 7-6 win in a marathon match at the No. 2 position over Kopinski.
MSU will continue action next weekend, when they hit the road to face Iowa and Nebraska. The Spartans will take on Iowa on Friday, April 12 at 12 p.m., before traveling to Nebraska to face the Cornhuskers on Sunday, April 14 at 12 p.m.