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    Top-20 Teams Square Off as NU Opens Big Ten Play at Illinois

    NUSPORTSDOTCOM Alex Pasareanu and the Wildcats square off with Illinois to open their league slate.
    Alex Pasareanu and the Wildcats square off with Illinois to open their league slate.

    March 1, 2013

    #20 Northwestern (13-3) at #17 Illinois (4-3)
    March 2, 2013 • 6 p.m.
    Atkins Tennis Complex
    Urbana, Ill.

    Live Scoring

    EVANSTON, Ill. - Newly ranked in the top 20 of ITA team rankings, Northwestern's men's tennis team travels south to Urbana on Saturday to open Big Ten play at No. 17 Illinois.

    Action gets underway at 6 p.m. at Atkins Tennis Center.

    The Wildcats (13-3) surged 21 spots in the first computer ITA rankings as they jumped all the way up from No. 41 to No. 20. Spencer Wolf remains the lone NU individual ranked by the ITA, coming in at No. 120.

    Sidarth Balaji, Alex Pasareanu and Raleigh Smith all have 11-3 records in dual meet action so far this season to lead the 'Cats. Smith has won six consecutive singles matches and has teamed with Balaji for a 10-1 dual meet mark in doubles play.

    NU notched a pair of road wins over ranked foes last weekend, posting a 5-1 victory at then-No. 51 Denver on Friday before rallying to take down No. 69 New Mexico 5-2 on Sunday. The Lobos captured the first two points on Sunday before the 'Cats won the next three singles matches to take the lead. Both Wolf (No. 1) and Chris Jackman (No. 6) were tied late in the decisive third set of their matches, but each pulled out tight victories to give NU the match win.

    Illinois (4-3) has played just seven dual matches thus far heading into its conference opener against Iowa on Friday. The Illini lineup features freshman Jared Hiltzik who jumped 76 spots in this week's ITA rankings to No. 37. Illinois' roster features another two ranked players in No. 113 Tim Kopinski and No. 118 Ross Guignon. The team already has victories over a pair of top-10 teams to its credit this season, defeating No. 5 Duke and No. 7 Kentucky by identical 4-3 scores.




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