No. 27 Nittany Lions Defeat No. 44 Wolverines, 5-2
March 23, 2014
With the win, Penn State also picked up their fifth win this year against a ranked opponent and third against a ranked opponent on the road.
"The Lions really showed a lot of heart today. I'm very proud of the way we played, especially in the third sets," said Head Coach Jeff Zinn. "Everyone competed hard, one through six. It's probably our best doubles performance of the year, especially at No. 2, defeating a team that was previously undefeated."
"It's hard to win on the road in the Big Ten, especially against an elite program like Michigan. That was one of our goals this year, to make people think about Penn State tennis and I think we now have their attention."
Penn State earned their 16th doubles point of the year and knocked off two ranked doubles opponents to earn today's point.
At the top doubles spot, Russell Bader (Austin, Texas) and Leonard Stakhovsky (Kiev, Ukraine), ranked 45th in the ITA Poll, took on Michigan's Alex Buzzi and Barrett Franks, ranked 22nd. The Penn State duo earned an 8-5 win to improve to 11-3 and pick up their second win over a ranked doubles opponent.
Michael Reilly (Raleigh, N.C.) and Chris Young (Melbourne, Australia) continued their strong spring at No. 2 doubles with an 8-5 victory against the Wolverine's Shaun Bernstein and Kevin Wong, the 52nd-best doubles team in the nation according to the ITA Poll. The duo clinched the doubles point for Penn State. Reilly and Young earned their ninth straight win and their second win against a ranked opponent.
Stakhovsky picked up a win at No. 1 singles. The 47th-ranked Stakhovsky took on Petrone, ranked 112th. Stakhovsky dropped the first set, 6-3, but responded with a 7-5 win in the second set. In the final set, he came out on top, 7-5. He is now 13-2 this spring and has four wins over ranked opponents.
The senior, Bader, earned his 15th win of the spring with his victory against Michigan's Bernstein. Bader fell in a tight first set, 7-6(4), but bounced back with a 7-5 win in the second set. Bader was leading 3-2 in the third set when Bernstein retired due to injury.
With the win, Bader picked up his 89th career victory, one behind Ryan Berger (2003-07) for fifth place all-time at Penn State.
"In singles, it came down to Leo and Russell, our two stars at the top," said Zinn. "For Leo, it came down to the third set. It was one of the highest quality matches and games at the end of that match that I've seen in college tennis this year. Great job by Leo to win that third set and the match for us. Russell was up and in control in his third set when his opponent decided to retire after we had clinched the match."
At the No. 4 singles spot, Matt Barry (Lido Beach, N.Y.) met the Wolverine's Buzzi. The sophomore took the first set, 6-3, but Buzzi came back with a 6-3 win in the second set. In the deciding set, Barry again won 6-3 to move to 10-2 this spring and 19-6 overall.
Sophomore Roman Trkulja (Toronto, Canada) claimed a straight-set win against Michigan's Franks. Trkulja won the first set 6-4 and followed that up with a 6-2 win in the second set. Trkulja evened up his spring record at 8-8.
Alex Fennell (Bala Cynwyd, Pa.) competed at No. 3 singles against the Wolverine's Justin Rossi. In a close first set, Rossi won 7-6(4) and then continued his momentum into the second set as he won 6-3. Fennell is now 11-6 in dual matches.
Kohan got his second straight start at No. 6 singles as he took on Michigan's Michael Zhu. In the first set, Zhu won a tough 7-6(1) set. Zhu then got a 6-3 win in the second set. Kohan dropped to 3-1 this spring.
"A tremendous effort by both teams today. This match against Michigan is a turning point for our program," said Assistant Coach Paul Tobin. "Once again our doubles teams pulled out great wins. We knew Michigan would push us in singles. It was good to see Roman bounce back today with a win at 5. We have two big matches next weekend."
The Nittany Lions welcome two Top 25 opponents next weekend as they host No. 9 Illinois and No. 25 Northwestern. They face the Illini at 3 p.m. on Friday and the Wildcats at Noon on Sunday.
Please check back to GoPSUSports.com throughout the week for more coverage of the Penn State men's tennis team. Fans can also follow us on Facebook, Penn State Men's Tennis, and Twitter, @pennstateMTEN.
1. #45 Bader/Stakhovsky(PSU) def. #22 Buzzi/Franks, 8-5.
2. Reilly/Young(PSU) def. #52 Bernstein/Wong, 8-5.
3. Petrone/Zhu(Mich) def. Kohan/Lutschaunig(PSU), 8-2.
Order of Finish: 3,1,2
1. #47 Leo Stakhovsky(PSU) def. #112 Alex Petrone(Mich), 3-6, 7-5, 7-5.
2. Russell Bader(PSU) def. Shaun Bernstein(Mich), 6-7(4), 7-5, 3-2, retired.
3. Justin Rossi(Mich) def. Alex Fennell(PSU), 7-6(4), 6-3.
4. Matt Barry(PSU) def. Alex Buzzi(Mich), 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.
5. Roman Trkulja(PSU) def. Barrett Franks(Mich), 6-4, 6-2.
6. Michael Zhu(Mich) def. David Kohan(PSU), 7-6(1), 6-3.
Order of Finish: 5,6,3,4,1,2