ANN ARBOR, April 29, 2019 (Press Release)
The No. 15 Fighting Illini men’s tennis team fell to the No. 1 Ohio State Buckeyes, 4-1 on Sunday afternoon in the Big Ten Tournament final at Varsity Tennis Center in Ann Arbor, Mich. Illinois moves to 18-8 overall this season.
“Hats off to Ohio State,” said head coach Brad Dancer. “I thought we were ready for the challenge, but in the big moments they outplayed in doubles. They have a very good team and I felt Martin Joyce was a difference maker for them today. To beat Zeke (Clark) is not easy. They will represent the conference well in the NCAA tournament.”
Illinois dropped the doubles point with losses on courts one and two to give the Buckeyes the lead. Alex Kobelt extended the Scarlet and Gray’s lead with a win over freshman Keenan Mayo, 6-4, 6-2. Ranked at No. 51, sophomore Alex Brown topped No. 24 John McNally, 6-2, 6-4, to put the Illini on the board. Junior Zeke Clark fell to Martin Joyce on court three, 6-2, 6-4. In the end, Ohio State’s Kyle Seelig clinched the match, 7-6 (6), 6-2 on court four to seal the tournament title for Ohio State.
Illinois will find out its placement in the 2019 NCAA Tournament on Monday when the selections are announced. The selection show will stream live on NCAA.com at 5 p.m. CT. Seeding for individuals and doubles teams will be announced on Tuesday via a press release on NCAA.com at 5 p.m. CT.
“Now, obviously we turn our full attention to NCAAs,” noted Dancer. “It’s a short turnaround… something we haven’t experienced before, so no time to be upset, but rather get dialed in because we need to be ready. We can beat the top five teams in the nation. Now, we just need to prove it.”
#1 Ohio State 4, #15 Illinois 1
Singles competition: Order of Finish (5,2,3,4)
1. #1 JJ Wolf (OSU) vs. #9 Aleks Kovacevic (UI) 6-7 (8-10), 4-3, unfinished
2. #51 Alex Brown (UI) def. #24 John McNally (OSU) 6-2, 6-4
3. Martin Joyce (OSU) def. Zeke Clark (UI) 6-2, 6-4
4. #53 Kyle Seelig (OSU) def. Siphosothando Montsi (UI) 7-6 (8-6), 6-2
5. Alex Kobelt (OSU) def. Keenan Mayo (UI) 6-4, 6-2
6. Hunter Tubert (OSU) vs. Vuk Budic (UI) 6-1, 4-6, 4-2, unfinished
Doubles competition: Order of finish (2,1)
1. #30 Martin Joyce/JJ Wolf (OSU) def. #52 Aleks Kovacevic/Alex Brown (UI) 6-4
2. #41 Alex Kobelt/Kyle Seelig (OSU) def. Vuk Budic/Gui Gomes (UI) 6-3
3. John McNally/Hunter Tubert (OSU) vs. Fletcher Scott/Keenan Mayo (UI) 5-5, unfinished
Illinois 18-8; National ranking #15
Ohio State 29-2; National ranking #1
Big Ten Tournament Final