Illinois 4, Quinnipiac
Illinois 4, Quinnipiac 0May 14, 2005
Urbana, Ill. - The Fighting Illini opened NCAA Tournament play on Saturday morning with a swift and emphatic 4-0 victory over the Quinnipiac Bobcats in front of nearly 250 looking on at Atkins Tennis Center. Due to rainy conditions earlier in the morning, the match was moved indoors. The Illini have now advanced to the second round every year since the tournament expanded to 64-teams in 1999. Illinois now awaits the winner of the Louisville-Notre Dame match that begins at 2 p.m.
"It's good to have tougher matches in preparation for the next day," head coach Craig Tiley said. "We didn't get that today, but we'll go and watch the Notre Dame-Louisville match this afternoon, finish up our scouting report and we'll come out tomorrow ready to play. It's the postseason and we're now in the round of 32 and while our goal is to get to the championship match, we still have a ways to go and we have to deal with tomorrow first."
With the match being moved indoors, it did not make things any easier on Quinnipiac. The Illini jumped all over the Bobcats early in the No. 2 and 3 matches, as they snatched the first point of the match in nearly 30 minutes. At No. 2, freshmen duo Ruben Gonzales and Ryan Rowe devoured Stefano Salvatore and Scott Salway, 8-0. This was the first time Gonzales and Rowe teamed up this season. Evan Zeder and Pramod Dabir followed suit as they finished Jonathan Russo and Fabian Villacis, 8-0 as well. Chris Martin and GD Jones were up 5-2 before the match was abandoned at No. 1.
More of the same was to come in the singles play, as the Illini again had too much for the Northeast Conference champs. The Illini only dropped one game in the three winning matches on their way to the second round on Saturday. Martin got the ball rolling as he blazed out to a very quick 6-0, 6-0 victory over Salvatore. Even though today's match was not a difficult one for the senior, it appears as if he is putting his best tennis together just in time, as he has won seven of his last eight matches. Rowe was hitting on all cylinders at No. 5 as he dispatched Quinnipiac's Alex Altman 6-0, 6-1. Dabir finished the match with a 6-0, 6-0 victory over Jonathan Russo at No. 4.
"Chris (Martin) has really stepped up," Tiley said. "In the locker room, he said his goal was to beat everyone as bad as we can, when we can and when we can't, to just make sure we stay on top somehow."
DeHeart, Gonzales and Zeder were all leading in the second set before their matches were abandoned.
The Illini will face either Louisville or Notre Dame in the Round of 32 tomorrow (Sunday, May 15) at 1 p.m. CDT at Atkins Tennis Center. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for students.
No. 5 Illinois 4, Quinnipiac 0
1. C. Martin/GD Jones (ILL) vs. Michael Racioppo/Andrew Chan (QUIN) 5-2
2. R. Gonzales/R. Rowe (ILL) def. Stefano Salvatore/Scott Salway (QUIN) 8-0
3. E. Zeder/P. Dabir (ILL) def. Jonathan Russo/Fabian Villacis (QUIN) 8-0
Order of finish: 2, 3
Singles 1. #8 Ryler DeHeart (ILL) vs. Michael Racioppo (QUIN) 6-1, 2-1 (DNF)
2. Ruben Gonzales (ILL) vs. Andrew Chan (QUIN) 6-1, 3-0 (DNF)
3. Chris Martin (ILL) def. Stefano Salvatore (QUIN) 6-0, 6-0
4. Pramod Dabir (ILL) def. Jonathan Russo (QUIN) 6-0, 6-0
5. Ryan Rowe (ILL) def. Alex Altman (QUIN) 6-0, 6-1
6. Evan Zeder (ILL) vs. Greg Kreyman (QUIN) 6-2, 4-0 (DNF)
Order of finish: 3, 5, 4
-- Courtesy UIUC