Men's Tennis Suffers Narrow Loss To Illini

March 15, 2001

LOS ANGELES -- The 19th-ranked USC men's tennis team dropped a heartbreaker to 12th-ranked Illinois 4-3 this afternoon at Marks Tennis Stadium. With the loss, the Trojans fall to 10-3 overall, while the Illini improve to 8-5.

The close match was a battle from the start as two of three doubles matches were decided in a tiebreaker. USC's most important victory came at the No. 1 doubles spot where Ryan Moore and Nick Rainey pulled out a 9-8 victory in a 7-5 tiebreaker over Graydon Oliver and Amer Delic (Oliver, and former partner Cary Franklin, defeated Moore and Rainey last season to claim the 2000 NCAA Doubles Championship). With a win at court three, USC earned the doubles point and a 1-0- lead.

Singles play began in a tug-of-war as Mike Kosta evened the score for Illinois with a 6-1, 7-5 win over Rainey at court 4. The Illini followed with victories at courts 1 and 6, then USC tied the score with wins at the No. 3 and 5 positions.

Knotted at 3-3, the match came down to USC's Moore and Illinois' Phillip Stolt. Moore earned a 6-3 decision in the first set, then Stolt took the second in a 7-5 tiebreaker. With a stadium of fans focused on court No. 2, the two alternated with the lead in the final set through the first four points, but strong serving allowed Stolt to pull away. Stolt earned the final win 6-4 for the Illini victory.

USC will next host Princeton on March 22 at 1:30 p.m. at Marks Tennis Stadium.

Illinois 4, USC 3

Doubles
(1) Rainey/Moore (USC) def. Oliver/Delic (Illinois) - 9-8 (7-5)
(2) Calkins/Parker (Illinois) def. Torres/Collins (USC) - 9-8 (7-5)
(3) Park/Spizzo (USC) def. Zeder/Kosta (Illinois) - 8-2
USC wins doubles point

Singles
(1) Graydon Oliver (Illinois) def. Andrew Park (USC) - 6-2, 6-3
(2) Phillip Stolt (Illinois) def. Ryan Moore (USC) - 3-6, 7-5, 6-4
(3) Damien Spizzo (USC) def. Amer Delic (Illinois) - 7-6, 7-5
(4) Mike Kosta (Illinois) def. Nick Rainey (USC) - 6-1, 6-2
(5) Ruben Torres (USC) def. Michael Calkins (Illinois) - 7-6, 6-4
(6) Nathan Zedar (Illinois) def. Parker Collins (USC) - 6-4, 6-4

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