Men’s tennis team looks to shock Fighting Illini tonight

There is one common phrase being tossed around the Neil Schiff Tennis Center this week: “Stop the Streak.”

The rallying cry refers to the No. 1 Illinois men’s tennis team which, entering Tuesday’s match against the Florida Gators, had won 47 straight times.

As for the Hurricanes, they are currently No. 31 in the country with a record of 11-3 and are on a two-match winning streak after defeating Wisconsin and Georgia Southern last weekend.

Miami started the season 9-0, but lost its first match of the season in a heartbreaker to rival Florida State. The team also did not fare well on a road trip to Texas A&M and Texas Christian during spring break. Freshman phenom Josh Cohen missed all three matches that the team lost.

“It was a tough week for us in Texas with us shorthanded,” Head Coach Bryan Getz said. “But we reacted well once we knew we had our whole team healthy again.”

The team bounced back nicely at the friendly compounds in Coral Gables last Friday, as they went out and defeated Wisconsin 6-1. Miami took the early doubles point and never looked back, winning five of the six singles matches. Returning to action, Cohen won easily at first singles 6-1, 6-1.

The Hurricanes also took care of business Saturday against the Georgia Southern Eagles. The team took all of the doubles and singles matches, cruising to a 7-0 victory.

Tim Krebs clinched the win for Miami at the No. 3 spot, winning in straight sets 6-2, 6-4. John Hoyes dominated his opponent 6-0, 6-1 at the fourth singles position. The ‘Canes needed no extra sets to down the Eagles as every player won in straight sets.

Now the Hurricanes will take on a Fighting Illini team that has been No.1 in the country all season long. The last time Illinois had an L next to its name was May 19, 2002, against USC in the Elite Eight at the NCAA Tournament. Getz thinks that Miami may have what it takes to end the streak.

“We’re not going to do anything differently to prepare for them,” Getz said. “Our guys know what’s at stake, and they know that we have a great opportunity. We know that no one is unbeatable, but we’re very confident in our abilities.”

The Hurricanes will then travel to ACC territory, as they will face four future conference foes in a row on the road. Getz has his team thinking about those four match-ups in an interesting context.

“We’re modeling those two weekends as an ACC tournament,” Getz said. “We’ll be playing four rounds [matches] and we’ll treat it like that. It will be a tough end to the season, but it will get us ready for the Big East tournament.”