Men win in first round of NCAA tournament

Erica Magda

Erica Magda

By Alex Iniguez

The No. 15 Illinois men’s tennis team defeated Xavier, 4-0, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday. The Illini raced out to an early lead after securing the doubles point at a rapid pace. The No. 42-ranked duo of Ruben Gonzales and Marc Spicijaric played a flawless match to win 8-0 against Xavier’s Ra’ees Ismail and J.T. Torbeck.

Soon after, Brandon Davis and Waylon Chin emerged victorious at the No. 3 spot with an 8-1 score. In singles play, Spicijaric was again part of an impeccable match, as the junior defeated Ismail by a 6-0, 6-0 margin. Billy Heiser and Roy Kalmanovich rounded out the match with straight-set victories for the Illini.

“I think today was a good model of what we’re trying to accomplish,” head coach Brad Dancer said. “Especially Spicijaric and Heiser- they did a super job today. What showed today is what you hope to show. I think we prepared really well. The guys are extremely focused, and they want this really badly.”

Up next for Illinois is the winner of the first-round match between No. 18 LSU and the undefeated Drake Bulldogs. The Illini will face off with their opponent at 2 p.m. Saturday.

Check back tomorrow for updates on the game.

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