Hietaranta B1G Preview WebHietaranta B1G Preview Web
Men's Tennis

#5 Huskers Face #4 Illinois in Big Ten Tournament Quarterfinals

The Nebraska men’s tennis team (16-9, 5-4 Big Ten) is set for a 2024 Big Ten Tournament Quarterfinals rematch, after being seeded No. 5 in the tournament, slated to face No. 4 seed Illinois (16-8, 6-3 Big Ten) on Friday, April 26, at 11 a.m. (CT). The 2024 Big Ten Tournament is being hosted by Northwestern in Evanston, Ill., with play beginning April 25, and the championship concluding on April 28. Live stats and stream will be available, as well as updates on Twitter/X @HuskerMTennis.

Although the Huskers had a strong finish to the regular season with a 7-0 sweep of Penn State on senior day, the Big Red are in a familiar position, heading into the postseason. For the second year in a row, Nebraska heads to the Big Ten tournament with a No. 5 conference tournament seed, a 5-4 Big Ten record, and a quarterfinals matchup against No. 4 Illinois. The last two meetings against the Fighting Illini have been 2-4 losses, as the Big Red seek a different outcome to advance to the Big Ten semifinals.

Scouting #26 Illinois (16-8, 6-3 Big Ten)/Series History:
- The Fighting Illini concluded the 2023-24 regular season with a 16-8 (6-3 Big Ten) record, coming off their most recent 4-0 victory over Indiana.
- Illinois ended last season with a 19-11 record and a national ranking of No. 32.
- As of April 23, ranked Fighting Illini include No. 27 Karlis Ozolins, No. 42 Hunter Heck and No. 99 Kenta Miyoshi in singles. Ranked Orange and Blue doubles duos are No. 9 Hunter Heck and Karlis Ozolins, and No. 43 Lucas Horve and Oliver Okonkwo.
- Head Coach Brad Dancer is in his 18th season in the role with Illinois. Dancer led the Orange and Blue to a Big Ten Tournament Title in 2021 and has coached Fighting Illini into the NCAA Tournament in 16 of his 18 seasons.
- Series History: 13-1 ILL; Since their first matchup in 2014, the Big Red have gone 1-13 against the Fighting Illini.

The Huskers are coming off a split weekend at home, after falling to top-ranked Ohio State and defeating Penn State, 7-0. The senior day sweep improved the Huskers’ record to 16-9 (5-4 Big Ten) to conclude the regular season. The 16th win marks a program best since 2009. The Huskers concluded home play with an 11-3 record when playing at Dillon. Head Coach Peter Kobelt has led the team to a program record most wins from a first-year coach, all-time.

On April 23, Calvin Mueller was ranked at No. 80 in singles, and the Big Red were ranked by ITA at No. 59 with a 16-9 record. On April 24, Mueller was named Big Ten Player of the Week for the second time this season and the third in his career. The junior claimed the award after a 2-0 weekend against ranked conference opponents. The honor was also the third for the Big Red this season, having earned two-straight Big Ten honors in January. Shepp was named Big Ten Player of the Week on Jan. 17 and Calvin Mueller on Jan. 24. Both Shepp and Mueller were recognized for their perfect 4-0 weeks and straight-set victories.

Stay tuned to the Husker Men’s Tennis social media channels to keep up with match updates and content as available.