URBANA, Ill. – The No. 8 Texas A&M men’s tennis team suffered its first setback of the spring season Friday evening at No. 22 Illinois by a score of 4-1 at the Atkins Tennis Center.
The Aggies (6-1) began the night capturing the doubles point behind a 6-4 win by the No. 6 duo of Junior Ore and Jackson Withrow over No. 4 Tim Kopinski and Ross Guignon, the highest ranked win the duos’ history. The No. 20 tandem of Jeremy Efferding and Jordan Szabo defeated No. 31 Brian Page and Alex Jesse 6-3 on the doubles three line. Harrison Adams and Shane Vinsant fell to No. 27 Farris Gosea and Jared Hiltzik.
“We came out and played with a lot of energy and confidence early on,” head coach Steve Denton said. “We were pleased with the doubles matches, especially with Ore and Withrow’s great match to win the doubles point for us.”
The Fighting Illini (3-2) jumped out to a quick start in singles winning five of six first sets and never looked back taking four singles matches to defeat A&M 4-1. No. 46 Lopinski defeated No. 13 Efferding (6-1, 6-3) on court three to start the rally, quickly followed by a win at number one line by No. 4 Hiltzik over No. 38 Vinsant (6-3, 6-2).
“Illinois took the momentum winning the first set on five of six courts,” Denton said. “We just had to play catch up too much. We turned a couple matches around in our favor but we couldn’t come all the way back tonight.”
No. 106 Gosea bested No. 19 Adams (6-3, 6-5) on court two, followed by the clinching point at court five of Blake Bazarnik over Withrow (6-4, 6-5).
“We missed opportunities with a couple tiebreakers that would have given us a chance with the final two matches that were abandoned,” Denton said. “This was our first time on the road this year and Illinois handled the conditions better than we did, we just need to come out more focused when the crowd isn’t on our side.”
After Illinois clinched the match Ore and Page (6-4, 5-5) on court four and Guignon and Lunkin (6-4, 4-5) on court six went unfinished.
The maroon and white stay on the road to face No. 5 Ohio State Sunday afternoon in Columbus, OH. To learn more about the men’s tennis team, visit AggieAthletics.com and follow @AggieMTEN on Twitter.
No. 22 Illinois def. No. 8 Texas A&M 4-1
Texas A&M (6-1); Illinois (4-2)
No. 1 – No. 6 Ore/Withrow, A&M def. No. 4 Kopinski/Guignon, 6-4
No. 2 – No.27 Gosea/Hiltzik, Illinois def. Adams/Vinsant, A&M, 6-3
No. 3 – No. 20 Efferding/Szabo, A&M def. No. 31 Page/Jesse, Illinois, 6-2
No. 1 – No. 4 Jared Hiltzik, Illinois def. No. 38 Shane Vinsant, A&M, SMU 6-3, 6-2
No. 2 – No. 106 Farris Gosea, Illinois def. No. 19 Harrison Adams, A&M 6-3, 6-5
No. 3 – No. 46 Tim Kopinski, Illinois def. No. 13 Jeremy Efferding, A&M 6-1, 6-3
No. 4 – Junior Ore, A&M vs. Brian Page, Illinois, 6-4, 5-5 unfinished
*No. 5 –Blake Bazarnik, Illinois def. Jackson Withrow, A&M 6-4, 6-5
No. 6 – Ross Guignon, Illinois vs. Max Lunkin, A&M 6-4, 4-5 unfinished
Order of finish: Doubles 3, 2, 1; Singles 3, 1, 2, 5**clinched the match