No. 27 Nittany Lions Earn Sweep Against No. 62 UCF, Southern Miss
March 13, 2014
With the win over the Golden Knights, Penn State earned their fourth win this year over a ranked opponent and their second road win over a ranked opponent.
"I think overall, it's always good when you get a win," said Head Coach Jeff Zinn. "We are definitely adapting to the outdoor style of play. Outdoor tennis is a lot different than the indoor that we are used to, so we came down to Florida to get some matches in. We're achieving our goals and getting some great fight."
Russell Bader (Austin, Texas) and Leonard Stakhovsky (Kiev, Ukraine) earned their first win as a ranked pair. The Penn State duo, ranked 45th in the nation, knocked off UCF's Jesse Flores and Amar Hromic, 8-2. In the second match, they faced Southern Miss' Paulo Alvarado and Juan Escobar. The Nittany Lion pair was trailing 6-5 when the match was stopped. The duo is now 9-3 this spring.
Sophomore David Kohan (Sydney, Australia) and freshman Christian Lutschaunig (Richboro, Pa.) combined at No. 3 doubles. They clinched the doubles point for Penn State with their 8-2 win over UCF's Chris Barrus and Inaki Espindola. The duo followed that up with an 8-5 win against the Golden Eagles' Chao-Yu Huang and Vasco Valverde. They are now 10-2 in dual matches.
Michael Reilly (Raleigh, N.C.) and Chris Young (Melbourne, Australia) teamed up at No. 2 doubles against UCF's Francesc Aulina and Matthew Gladstone. Reilly and Young were trailing 6-3 when the match was stopped. They clinched the doubles point in the second match with an 8-5 victory against Southern Miss' Alex Doleac and Brad Marriott.
Penn State has won the doubles point in 14 of 15 matches and in all five road or neutral matches.
"It was a great job by our doubles teams today to secure the point against a very talented Central Florida team," said Assistant Coach Paul Tobin. "Some players are still adapting to playing outdoors, but you can see them getting more comfortable. We didn't expect Southern Miss to come out so strong in doubles and it took us a while to adjust and secure the point."
Stakhovsky, ranked 47th in the ITA Poll, picked up a win at the top singles spot with a straight-set victory, 6-2, 7-5, over UCF's Gladstone. Stakhovsky improved to 11-2 this spring.
At No. 2 singles, Bader bounced back from his loss on Tuesday with a 6-2, 6-1 win against UCF's Hromic. With the win, Bader tied Mike Griesser(1995-99), 86 career wins, for sixth place on the career singles wins list at Penn State. Bader did not waste much time passing Griesser, earning a 6-3, 6-4 victory against Southern Miss' Doleac. Bader is now 13-2 this spring and 20-6 overall.
Sophomore Matt Barry (Lido Beach, N.Y.) took on the Golden Knights' Barrus at the fourth singles spot. Barry won the first set, 6-4, but dropped the second, 7-6(4). In the third set, Barry came out with a 6-3 win to clinch the matchup and the match point for Penn State. Barry holds a 9-1 mark this spring and is 19-5 overall.
"I'm glad Matt Barry is on our team," said Zinn. "Because when the match is tight and you need a player to come through, he does. Matt Barry is one of a kind. I've had a lot of great players, but under pressure, he's really, really good. He came through again for us against a really good Central Florida team."
Freshman Alex Fennell (Bala Cynwyd, Pa.) matched up at the third singles spot against UCF's Aulina. The freshman entered the match with a 10-match win streak, but could not keep it going, falling in two close sets, 7-6(4), 7-5. In the second match, Fennell got his first career start at No. 1 singles against Southern Miss' Alvarado, but Fennell dropped a 7-5, 6-4 result. Fennell fell to 11-4 this spring.
Roman Trkulja (Toronto, Canada) competed at the No. 5 singles spot against the Golden Knights' Espindola. The sophomore won the first set, 6-3, but Espindola responded with a 6-3 second set win. In the third set, Espindola won a tight battle, 7-6(4). Trkulja bounced back in his second match of the day with a 6-2, 6-3 sweep against Southern Miss' Valerde at No. 3 singles. Trkulja is 7-7 this spring and has 15 wins overall.
Freshman Marc Collado Castells (Barcelona, Spain) matched up against UCF's Reece Acree at No. 6 singles. Acree came out with a straight-set win, 6-4, 6-2. Castells came back with a 6-4, 6-4 win at No. 4 singles in his second match against the Golden Eagles' Escobar. Castells is 8-5 in dual matches.
At the fifth singles spot against Southern Miss, Kohan earned a straight-set win, 6-2, 6-0, against Huang. Kohan picked up his second win this spring and 10th overall. Reilly competed at the No. 6 singles spot against the Golden Eagles' Marriott. The junior won 6-4, 6-2 to improve to 3-2 this spring.
"It was a long day today, but I felt that we won comfortably," said Zinn. "We played some guys that haven't played a lot of singles this year, so it was good to get them in there and get some wins. Southern Miss had a lot of older players in their lineup. They were a good matchup for us and we were happy to come out with the win."
"We still have some things to work on in singles, as shown by the Central Florida match," said Tobin. "But we did a nice job coming back strong in singles against Southern Miss. We got a good effort from a lot of guys in that match and we were able to get the job done."
The Nittany Lions host their Big Ten home opener on Friday, March 21 against Michigan State. The match begins at 3 p.m. and will be played either at the Sarni Tennis Center or the Indoor Tennis Center.
Please check back to GoPSUSports.com for more coverage of the Penn State men's tennis team. Updates are also available on our Facebook, Penn State Men's Tennis, and Twitter, @pennstateMTEN, pages.
No. 27 Penn State 4, No. 62 UCF 3
1. #45 Bader/Stakhovsky(PSU) def. Hromic/Flores(UCF), 8-2.
2. Reilly/Young(PSU) vs. Aulina/Gladstone(UCF), 3-6, unfinished.
3. Kohan/Lutschaunig(PSU) def. Barrus/Espindola(UCF), 8-2.
Order of Finish: 1,3
1. #47 Leo Stakhovsky(PSU) def. Matthew Gladstone(UCF), 6-2, 7-5.
2. Russell Bader(PSU) def. Amar Hromic(UCF), 6-2, 6-1.
3. Francesc Aulina(UCF) def. Alex Fennell(PSU), 7-6(4), 7-5.
4. Matt Barry(PSU) def. Chris Barrus(UCF), 6-4, 6-7(4), 6-3.
5. Inaki Espindola(UCF) def. Roman Trkulja(PSU), 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(4).
6. Reece Acree(UCF) def. Marc Collado Castells(PSU), 6-4, 6-2.
Order of Finish: 2,1,6,3,5,4
No. 27 Penn State 6, Southern Miss 1
1. #45 Bader/Stakhovsky(PSU) vs. Alvarado/Escobar(SMiss), 5-6, unfinished.
2. Reilly/Young(PSU) def. Doleac/Marriott(SMiss), 8-5.
3. Kohan/Lutschaunig(PSU) def. Huang/Valverde(SMiss), 8-5.
Order of Finish: 3,2
1. Paulo Alvarado(SMiss) def. Alex Fennell (PSU), 7-5, 6-4.
2. Russell Bader(PSU) def. Alex Doleac(SMiss), 6-3, 6-4.
3. Roman Trkulja(PSU) def. Vasco Valverde(SMiss), 6-2, 6-3.
4. Marc Collado Castells(PSU) def. Juan Escobar(SMiss), 6-4, 6-4.
5. David Kohan(PSU) def. Chao-Yu Huang(SMiss), 6-2, 6-0.
6. Michael Reilly(PSU) def. Brad Marriott(SMiss), 6-4, 6-2.
Order of Finish: 5,6,3,4,2,1