UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- It was a hard-fought, drawn out battle that waged both outdoors and indoors on Friday afternoon, but it was an encounter that saw No. 10 Illinois emerge triumphant against No. 23 Penn State by the score 4-3.
With the team score tied at 3-3, it all came down to Julian Childers on court No. 6, who had lost the first set. Childers, a sophomore, rallied to take the next 12 of 15 games, winning 6-7(6), 6-0, 6-3, to clinch it for the Orange and Blue.
"Julian was incredibly calm playing most of his contest with the team match on the line," Illinois head coach Brad Dancer said. "Marcos did a tremendous job of helping to manage him down the stretch."
Illinois started the match by claiming its sixth consecutive doubles point. Blake Bazarnik and Alex Jesse wrapped up first, quickly dispatching David Kohan and Christian Lutschaunig 8-3.
The nationally third-ranked team of Tim Kopinski and Ross Guignon then closed it out against No. 28 Russell Bader and Leonard Stakhovsky in the No. 1 doubles spot, winning their eighth in a row. The back-and-forth battle waged into a tiebreak where the Illini duo earned the 7-3 win.
In singles, Jared Hiltzik's return to the lineup did not go quite as he may have hoped, as Stakhovsky and the Nittany Lions tied it right back up at one with a 6-2, 6-2 win.
Farris Gosea pushed the Illini back out in front, getting his fourth straight-set victory against a Big Ten opponent in the process. Gosea cruised to a 6-1, 6-1 win versus Russell Bader.
After Penn St. tied it once more via court No. 4, Tim Kopinski answered the call for the Orange and Blue. The 42nd-ranked player defeated Alex Fennell 7-6(3), 7-5.
However, the Nittany Lions would simply not go away, tying the team score one last time with a win on court No. 5. That set the stage for Childers who moved his spring dual match record to 5-3 and won his fourth consecutive match.