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.

1. #9 Ryler DeHeart (ILL) vs. #68 Mark Barry (PSU), 7-5, 5-7, 1-0, abd.
2. #23 Kevin Anderson (ILL) def. Malcolm Scatliffe (PSU), 6-2, 6-2
3. #87 GD Jones (ILL) led Ryan Berger (PSU), 6-4, 5-4, abd.
4. #71 Ryan Rowe (ILL) def. Michael James (PSU), 7-6 (2), 6-4
5. Adam Slagter (PSU) led Marc Spicijaric (ILL), 6-3, 6-6, abd.
6. Ruben Gonzales (ILL) def. Bradley Hunter (PSU), 6-4, 6-2
Order of finish: 6,2,4

1. #4 Anderson/Rowe (ILL) def. Barry/Slagter (PSU), 8-5
2. #17 Pramod Dabir/DeHeart (ILL) def. Berger/Hunter (PSU), 8-4
3. Gonzales/Jones (ILL) led Brenden Lynch/Scatliffe (PSU), 6-4, abd.
Order of finish: 2,1

Illinois (2) def. Penn State (6), 4-0