Indiana rallies to take down Illini
Hoosiers' first win vs. Illinois since April 1997
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - A week after knocking off a top-twenty Michigan team, the Hoosiers took down No. 13 Illinois on Saturday, coming back from a 3-1 deficit for a 4-3 win. Indiana once again got the deciding point from No. 109 Josh MacTaggart, his third clincher of the season. The Hoosiers won four of the six singles matches for the victory after Illinois took the doubles point. The win is Indiana's first against the Illini since April 13, 1997.
The Hoosiers fell in two of the three doubles matches and lost at two singles to dig an early 2-0 hole. Stephen Vogl posted an impressive win at number six, winning 6-4, 6-1. The next match to finish was at number one, where the Illini won to leave zero room for error the rest of the way for Indiana.
Down 3-1, the rally was on. Freshman Claes Göransson won at number four, scoiring his first career win over a ranked opponent. He took down No. 61 Abe Souza in straight sets, 6-3, 7-6 (7-5).
With the score at 3-2, the Hoosiers needed steady play from the racquets of MacTaggart at number three and Isade Juneau at number five. Juneau was the first to finish, knocking of Stephen Hoh 6-4, 3-6, 6-4.
That put all eyes on MacTaggart and No. 95 Johnny Hamui. Hamui had posted a dominating win in the first set and then opened the second set by breaking MacTaggart's serve, but MacTaggart got momentum back on his side and fired back to take the second set 6-4. The third set was all MacTaggart, as the Barnston, U.K., native took the set, 6-2.
Indiana head men's tennis coach Randy Bloemendaal said the team showed great toughness to take the win after dropping the doubles point for only the fourth time this season.
"I told them that we had to make a decision that we are the better team," Bloemendaal said. "Our guys wanted to come out on the court and see it, but you're not just going to see it, so I told them we've got to come back out and battle. And that is what we did."
Juniors Dennis Nevolo and Roy Kalmanovich each were victorious in both singles and doubles for the Illini.
"We have a lot of respect for Indiana," Illinois head coach Brad Dancer said. "I think that showed today because we panicked on some courts and when we do that, we're not going to win. Roy stepped up and played a great match. He's continued to progress and get back to how we know he's capable of playing. Dennis had some early hiccups but really used his legs better in the second set. That's going to be important for him down the road."
Nevolo and Kalmanovich downed Isade Juneau and Will Kendall, 8-3, before senior Abe Souza and sophomore Stephen Hoh secured the point with an 8-5 victory over No. 81 Stephen Vogl and MacTaggart. In singles, Kalmanovich easily handled Santiago Gruter, 6-1, 6-2, for his 10th win of the season, while Nevolo bested Langer, 7-5, 6-1, to record his team-best 21st victory of the year.