March 30, 2012
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.; -
The Penn State men's tennis team (11-6, 1-3) broke through in a big way against the Iowa Hawkeyes (1-13, 0-3) on a sun-splashed Friday afternoon at the Sarni Tennis Center. The first outdoor match of the season brought with it the first Big Ten victory for the Nittany Lions in their last 14 attempts.
"It feels good to win a Big Ten match," said head coach Jeff Zinn. "It takes a lot of pressure off of us. You could feel the pressure building and now it is gone. Let's see what we can do from here."
The Nittany Lions started off on the right foot against the Hawkeyes. After playing to a 2-2 tie to start the first doubles match, senior Taylor Cohen (Philadelphia, Pa.) and junior Bryan Welnetz (Laredo, Texas) went on a 6-0 run to finish off an impressive, 8-2, victory on court one. Iowa quickly responded in second doubles though. Sophomores Chris Young (Melbourne, Australia) and Russell Bader (Austin, Texas) traded points back and forth with Matt Hagan and Will Vasos until the score was even at 6-6. Hagan and Vasos then went on a 2-0 run to clinch an 8-6 victory.
With the doubles point hanging in the balance, Penn State turned to junior C.J. Griffin (Portland, Mich.) and red-shirt junior co-captain Christopher Hasyn (Lansdale, Pa.) on court three. After letting Jonas Dierckx and Tom Mroziewicz gain a 6-2 lead, Griffin and Hasyn began the comeback. The duo slowly chipped away, before evening the score at 6-6. Iowa then held serve, but Penn State managed to fight back to force a tiebreaker with the score evened at 8-8. In the tiebreaker both teams traded points before Penn State jumped ahead 7-6. Dierckx and Mroziewicz then ran off three straight points to secure a 1-0 lead for Iowa.
After falling behind, 1-0, the Nittany Lions turned to junior Bryan Welnetz (Laredo, Texas) to right the ship in singles play. Welnetz responded immediately, powering past Will Vasos in dominant fashion on court four, 6-0, 6-0. Senior co-captain Taylor Cohen (Philadelphia, Pa.) then solidified Penn State's positive momentum in his third singles bout. Cohen battled back from a 5-4 deficit to even the first set at 6-6 and force a tiebreaker. In the breaker, Cohen forged a 5-1 lead, before Dierckx cut the lead in half. Cohen finally slammed the door and secured a 7-6 (3) first set victory. The senior then cruised to a 6-3 second set victory and gave the Nittany Lions a lead they would never relinquish.
It was then freshman Tomas Hanzlik's (Prague, Czech Republic) time to shine. Hanzlik trailed 3-0 in the first set before he even could turn around. The Czech native fought back though, clawing past fellow freshman Matt Hagan, to take a 5-3 lead. Hagan returned the favor then, evening the score at 5-5 before Hanzlik overpowered Iowa's No. 1 singles threat to win the final two games of the se>. Hanzlik and Hagan then battled back and forth, before Hanzlik found himself up 5-4 with the advantage in the deciding game. Hagan rallied three times before Penn State's stellar freshman finally put the match away and gave Penn State a 3-1 lead.
With Penn State on the verge of clinching its first Big Ten victory in two seasons, the Nittany Lions turned to red-shirt junior co-captain Christopher Hasyn (Lansdale, Pa.) to put the match away. Hasyn fell behind early and dropped his first set on court six against Chase Tomlins, 6-3. He then fell behind in the second set, but would not be denied, running off three straight games to secure a 7-5 set triumph. The co-captain won his eighth straight games en route to going ahead 5-0 in his third set. Tomlins won two points before Hasyn finally closed out his victory and clinched the match for Penn State.
After the match had been clinched, Bader defeated Dunn 7-6 (4), 7-6 (6). Finally, Young closed out the match with a fifth win for the Nittany Lions (6-2, 3-6, 7-5).
Penn State will return to action when it takes on the No. 70 Nebraska Cornhuskers (7-8, 0-2) Sunday morning at the Sarni Tennis Center. The action will begin at 11 a.m. and free pizza will be available for all fans in attendance. Get up to the minute updates on your Nittany Lions on Facebook: Penn State Men's Tennis and Twitter: @PSUMensTennis.
- The win marked the Nittany Lions first conference victory since a 4-3 triumph over Northwestern on April 25, 2010.
- With the win today, Penn State evened the all-time record against Iowa at 12-12.
- Senior Jason Lee (Melbourne, Australia) was also scratched due to injury for the third consecutive match today.
1. Taylor Cohen/Bryan Welnetz (PSU) def. Garret Dunn/Michael Swank (Iowa), 8-2
2. Matt Hagan/Will Vasos (Iowa) def. Chris Young/Russell Bader (PSU), 8-6
3. Jonas Dierckx/Tom Mroziewicz (Iowa) def. C.J. Griffin/Christopher Hasyn (PSU), 9-8 (7)
Order of Finish: 1, 2, 3
1. Tomas Hanzlik (PSU) def. Matt Hagan (Iowa), 7-5, 6-4
2. Russell Bader (PSU) def. Garret Dunn, 7-6 (4), 7-6 (6)
3. Taylor Cohen (PSU) def. Jonas Dierckx (Iowa), 7-6 (3), 6-3
4. Bryan Welnetz (PSU) def. Will Vasos (Iowa), 6-0, 6-0
5. Chris Young (PSU) def. Tom Mroziewicz (Iowa), 6-2, 3-6, 7-5
6. Christopher Hasyn (PSU) def. Chase Tomlins (Iowa), 3-6, 7-5, 6-2
Order of Finish: 4, 3, 1, 6, 2, 5