Second-seeded Illini route Penn State to secure spot in championship final
April 29, 2006
MINNEAPOLIS - Illinois secured its 10th-consecutive appearance in the Big Ten Championship title match with a 4-0 win over sixth-seeded Penn State in Saturday's semifinal action. Looking for their fifth straight championship crown, the Illini collide with top-seeded Ohio State in a rematch of last year's title contest.
Illinois took a 1-0 lead with a sweep in the doubles competition. No. 17 Pramod Dabir and Ryler DeHeart downed the Nittany Lions' Ryan Berger and Bradley Hunter, 8-4, and No. 4 Kevin Anderson and Ryan Rowe took out PSU's top tandem of Mark Barry and Adam Slagter, 8-5, to clinch the doubles point.
In singles action, Ruben Gonzales put the Illini up by two with a 6-4, 6-2 decision over Hunter in the No. 6 match. Anderson, ranked 23rd in the nation, followed with a 6-2, 6-2 triumph over Malcolm Scatliffe in No. 2 doubles. No. 71 Rowe put together another crucial performance, securing a match-clinching win over Michael James 7-6 (6), 6-4.
The defending champion Illini improve to 22-5 overall and 11-1 against Big Ten opponents. They continue their hunt for a fifth consecutive title on Sunday at noon against Ohio State.
Illinois (2) def. Penn State (6), 4-0