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Freshman Alex Fennell
Feb. 16, 2014
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The No. 58 Penn State men's tennis team earned their second win this season over a ranked opponent as they knocked off No. 33 VCU, 4-1, on Sunday at the Indoor Tennis Center. The Nittany Lions won the doubles point and earned victories at the top three singles spots.
With the win, the Nittany Lions are 9-0, matching the best start in school history. The 1992 squad also started the season with nine-straight wins.
Penn State also defeated No. 33 Virginia Tech earlier this spring. It is the first time since 2008 that Penn State has topped two Top-40 opponents since 2008, when they beat #27 VCU, #35 Boise State and #21 Alabama.
"This win justified our hard work," said Head Coach Jeff Zinn. "VCU is going to be a very, very good team that will probably make the NCAA Tournament. This is a very good win for us."
The top singles spot featured a matchup between two players ranked in the ITA Poll as Leo Stakhovsky (Kiev, Ukraine), ranked 54th, faced VCU's Alexis Heugas, ranked 73rd. Stakhovsky came out with a 7-5 win in a back-and-forth first set. Stakhovsky continued his momentum with a 6-1 victory in the second set. Stakhovsky improved to 8-0 this spring and knocked off his second ranked opponent.
Senior Russell Bader (Austin, Texas) earned his first win as a ranked player. Bader entered the rankings at 119 this week and backed up the ranking with a hard-fought victory against the Rams' Nick Jones. After falling 7-5 in a tough first set, Bader bounced back with a 6-4 win in the second set. Bader followed that up with a 6-0 third set. The Austin, Texas native moves to 9-0 this spring and 16-4 overall.
With the win, Bader tied Marc Dorfman(1995-00) and Colin Smeeton(1994-98) for seventh all-time at Penn State. Bader now has 83 career wins.
Alex Fennell (Bala Cynwyd, Pa.) took on VCU's Michal Voscek at the third singles spot. Fennell never trailed in a back-and-forth first set, but Voscek forced a tiebreaker at 6-6. The freshman won the tiebreaker, 7-4, to take the set. Voscek came back with a 7-5 win in the second set. In the deciding set, Fennell came back from down 5-2 to force a tiebreaker. Fennell dominated the tiebreaker, 7-0, to win the set 7-6(0). Fennell improved to 7-2 this spring and 11-5 overall. The win clinched the match for Penn State with their fourth point of the day.
Sophomore Roman Trkulja (Toronto, Canada) met VCU's Alejandro Argente, who was ranked 66th in the nation entering the match, at No. 4 singles. Argente took the first set, 7-5. In the second set, Argente was down 4-1, but rallied to win it 6-4. Trkulja is now 5-3 this spring and 13-7 overall.
Sophomore Matt Barry (Lido Beach, N.Y.) matched up against the Rams' Jean Baptiste Mateo in the No. 5 matchup. Barry won the first set 6-2 and was leading 5-2 in the second set when the match was stopped after Penn State clinched the winning point.
Marc Collado Castells (Barcelona, Spain) competed against the Rams' Wilder Pimentel in the sixth singles spot. Pimentel was up 5-1 in the first set when the match was stopped.
Junior Michael Reilly (Raleigh, N.C.) and senior Chris Young (Melbourne, Australia) paired up at the No. 2 doubles spot against VCU's Voscek and Pimentel. The duos battled in a back-and-forth set. With the set tied 7-7, the Nittany Lion pair fought through a tough tiebreaker to win 11-9. The win clinched the doubles point for Penn State.
Penn State has now won the doubles point in eight of their nine matches.
Stakhovsky and Bader combined at the top doubles spot against VCU's Heugas and Jones. The Penn State duo earned an 8-6 win to improve to 6-2 this spring.
Bader also moved up the all-time doubles list with his 69th career win. Bader is now tied with his former doubles partner, Jason Lee(2008-12), for fourth in school history.
In the No. 3 doubles match, David Kohan (Sydney, Australia) and Christian Lutschaunig (Richboro, Pa.) took on VCU's Argente and Mateo. Kohan and Lutschaunig lost for the first time this year, falling 8-4. They are now 5-1 this spring and 9-1 overall.
"I want to thank the fans for coming out to support us," said Zinn. "We need them back for our match against Penn and the rest of the matches here this spring."
Penn State hosts Penn(0-3) on Saturday, February 22 at the Indoor Tennis Center. The match will begin at 11 a.m.
For updates on the Penn State men's tennis team, please check back to GoPSUSports.com. Updates are also available on our Facebook, Penn State Men's Tennis, and Twitter, @pennstateMTEN, pages.
1. Bader/Stakhovsky(PSU) def. Heugas/Jones(VCU), 8-6. 2. Reilly/Young(PSU) def. Voscek/Pimentel(VCU), 8-7(9) 3. Argente/Mateo(VCU) def. Kohan/Lutschaunig(PSU), 8-4. Order of Finish: 3,1,2
1. #54 Leo Stakhovsky(PSU) def. #73 Alexis Heugas(VCU), 7-5, 6-1.
2. #119 Russell Bader(PSU) def. Nick Jones(VCU), 5-7, 6-4, 6-0.
3. Alex Fennell(PSU) def. Michal Voscek(VCU), 7-6(4), 5-7, 7-6(0).
4. #66 Alejandro Argente(VCU) def. Roman Trkulja(PSU), 7-5, 6-4.
5. Matt Barry(PSU) vs. Jean Baptiste Mateo(VCU), 6-2, 5-2, unfinished.
6. Marc Collado Castells(PSU) vs. Wilder Pimentel(VCU), 1-5, unfinished.
Order of Finish: 1,2,4,3
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