Men's Tennis Advances at Big Ten Championships
April 30, 1998
EAST LANSING, Mich.- The Michigan State men's tennis team has advanced to the main draw of the 89th-annual Big Ten Championships in Champaign, Ill. In today's competition, the bottom of the draw, the four lowest teams, according to the regular season standings play one another for the opportunity to advance to the weekend's festivities with the first team to reach four points winning the match. The Spartans began the tournament needing to defeat two teams in order to advance to the weekend's main draw competition.
The Green and Whites are ranked ninth for the tournament and took on No. 10 Penn State in competition held earlier this morning. MSU defeated the Nittany Lions by the score of 4-2. After taking this contest, Michigan State advanced to face the No. 8-ranked University of Iowa. The action was delayed by rain for awhile, but after the showers stopped, the Spartans were once again victorious as they drowned the Hawkeyes 4-1. The wins move MSU to 14-11 overall and 5-7 in Big Ten competition, but more importantly it gives the Green and White the opportunity to face No. 1-seeded Illinois in the main draw Friday, May 1.
The first order of business for Michigan State was the 10th-seeded Penn State Nittany Lions. In the regular season, MSU defeated PSU by the score of 5-2. The outcome in the teams second meeting was more of the same as the Spartans once again came out on top.
In the doubles competition, the Green and White were triumphant in the first to win two matches so, in turn, they won the doubles point. In the No. 3 contest, the sophomore team of Ivica Primorac and Francisco Trinidad defeated Mike Accardi and Jeff Martini of Penn State by the score of 8-6, and senior Ben Hetzler and junior Trey Eubanks teamed to take the No. 2-match-up over the Nittany Lions' Mike Griesser and Eric Meditz, 8-6. After the Spartans took three singles matches from Penn State, the match was called and MSU was declared the winner. The singles victories from Michigan State came from: Primorac at No. 2 over Colin Smeeton 6-2, 6-2, sophomore Ken Kigongo at the No. 5 slot with a victory over Matt Nielson by the score of 7-5, 6-3, and Trinidad at the No. 6 with a score of 6-3, 7-5 over Martini. Michigan State captain Trey Eubank's match was suspended after it was determined the Spartans had the necessary points for victory. The Spartans then moved on to face Iowa, who had defeated the Green and White earlier in the season in East Lansing by the score of 4-3. The outcome would be much different this time around as Michigan State beat up on Iowa by the score of 4-1.
MSU once again captured the doubles point by winning two out of the three doubles matches. This time joining in on the fun was the Spartans No. 1 duo of junior Chris Struck and Kigongo. The pair got the best of Iowa's Ulf Jentler and Jason Dunn by the score of 8-4. Just like against Penn State, Primorac and Trinidad were once again victorious at the No. 3 position with a victory over Girts Auskaps and Justin Pohn 8-4. The pair of "super" sophomores were also victorious in their singles contests with Primorac downing Iowa's Ryan Johnstone in straight sets 6-3, 6-1 in the No. 2 match, while Trinidad defeated Matt Snowdon 6-2, 6-1 at the No. 5 position. The other Spartan victory came from junior Mark Jacobson who defeated Dunn 6-4, 7-6 (1) at the No. 6. Michigan State will now advance to play No. 1-seeded Illinois Friday, May 1 at 1:00 p.m., with the winner set to face the winner of the Michigan/Wisconsin match. The two teams should be familiar with one another because they met last Sunday in East Lansing for each team's regular season finale. Illinois got the best of Michigan State that day with a 6-1 victory, but MSU upset the No. 11-ranked Fighting Illini 4-3 in Champaign in the 1997 season.
#9 Michigan State vs. #8 Iowa
#9 Michigan State vs. #10 Penn State
at the official