Froment, Gophers Fight for 4-3 Win Over No. 19 Illinois
March 31, 2013
For the fourth-straight match, the Minnesota men’s tennis team upset a ranked opponent en route to a victory. After falling short in doubles, the No. 47 Golden Gophers battled back to top the No. 19 Fighting Illini, 4-3. The win brings Minnesota to 4-1 in conference action, while the loss was the first for Illinois which now also stands at 4-1 in the Big Ten.
“I’m really proud of our guys. They won’t roll over,” said head coach Geoff Young after the match. “Illinois is a really good team. They had more energy than any other team we’ve played this year. That was a wake-up call for our guys and they rose to the challenge.”
In perhaps the team’s tightest doubles competition of the season, Illinois edged Minnesota to move ahead 1-0. Eric Frueh and Leandro Toledo gave the Gophers some breathing room with a steady 8-4 victory over Ross Guignon and Brian Page. Mathieu Froment and Jack Hamburg nearly clinched the point from the first position, but fell behind to lose the match in a tiebreaker by a score of 9-8 (7-4). Second doubles featured another extended match between Rok Bonin and Juan Pablo Ramirez of Minnesota and Jared Hiltzik and Alex Jesse of Illinois. Once again, the Gophers looked strong in the beginning but ended up falling by a close mark of 9-7 after five match points.
That didn’t matter. The Gophers would string together four wins on the singles side to overcome the deficit and take home the victory. Rok Bonin, Jack Hamburg, Leandro Toledo, and Mathieu Froment would all notch wins on the singles side. Bonin was the first to tally a point for the Gophers with a 6-1, 6-4 win over Tim Kopinski from the first position. Hamburg tied the team score at two with a three-setter over Bruno Abdelnour (6-3, 2-6, 6-3).
Illinois made it 3-2 with success at the sixth singles positions, forcing the Gophers to win out the final two matches. Playing at No. 2, Toledo stepped up first and scored a three-set victory (2-6, 7-5, 6-4) over No. 42 Jared Hiltzik, tying the scoreboard at three with one match to go. Froment would capture victory after a fight back from a first-set loss. He left behind a 6-2 loss in the first to outlast his opponent, Illinois’ Ross Guignon, in a second set tiebreak. Using that momentum, Froment pushed through to take a 4-1 lead in the third and end the game with a final score of 6-3.
When asked about the current streak of upset victories, Young replied, “We’re just trying to be as good as we can be. We don’t pay too much attention to the rankings to be quite honest. It’s a good win because it’s a win. It’s an indicator that we are doing something right and getting better.”
Next up, the Golden Gophers will hit the road once again, making stops at Penn State and Ohio State on Friday and Sunday, respectively.
Tennis Match Results
#47 Minnesota 4, #19 Illinois 3
Order of Finish