Men's Tennis Loses Heartbreaker to Michigan State, 4-3
April 10, 2011
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State men's tennis team (10-13, 0-6) dropped its fifth consecutive Big Ten match in heart breaking fashion Sunday afternoon to Michigan State at the Sarni Tennis Center, 4-3. Senior Eddie Bourchier (Hobart, Australia) and freshman Russell Bader (Austin, Texas) had strong performances, earning the Nittany Lion's two singles victories and teaming up to earn a first doubles victory.
The Nittany Lions opened play in convincing fashion, taking two of three doubles matches from the Spartans. Bourchier and Bader started the match on the right foot in first doubles against Austin Brooks and Aaron Pfister. The duo led from start to finish en route to winning, 8-3. Sophomore Bryan Welnetz (Laredo, Texas) and junior Christopher Hasyn (Lansdale, Pa.) extended the momentum in third doubles, taking the match, 8-5, and clinching the first point for Penn State. After the point had been clinched, junior Jason Lee (Sydney, Australia) and freshman Chris Young (Melbourne, Australia) dropped a hard fought match in second doubles, 8-7 (9-7).
The Nittany Lions turned to singles play looking to take their first conference match. Penn State allowed the Spartans back into the match immediately. Welnetz struggled, dropping his fourth singles bout against Pfister (6-2, 6-4) to even the match. Hasyn then dropped the No. five singles pairing against John Stratton in straight sets (6-3, 6-4) to give Michigan State its first lead of the match.
Bourchier, playing second singles for the first time this season, provided a dose of senior leadership against Brooks. The Aussie took the first set in convincing fashion, 6-2. He then took a 5-2 lead in the second set before allowing Brooks to close the gap to 5-4. Bourchier finally secured the victory, winning the second set, 6-4, tying the match at 2-2.
Lee could not continue the momentum for Penn State in his second attempt at first singles this season. He fell to Bogatov (7-5, 6-4) and allowed the Spartans to retake the lead, 3-2.
Bader then was tasked with keeping the match alive in third singles against Ronnie Hulewicz. He pushed the first set to a tie breaker before eventually falling, 6-7 (4-7). Bader managed to rebound effectively in the second set, 6-2. Finally, the freshman took a 5-2 lead in the third set. He allowed Hulewicz to come back to within 5-4 before eventually taking the final point and tying the match at 3-3.
The win set up Young with a chance to earn Penn State's first conference victory in the sixth singles contest. The freshman started strong, taking the first set against Drew Lied, 6-3. Lied rebounded in the second set, 6-1. That set up an exciting third setting to decide the match. The pair battled to a 5-5 draw before Lied took the sixth point in a game that featured three break points. Young then dropped the seventh game of the set, clinching the match for the Spartans.
#60 Michigan State 4, Penn State 3
1. Eddie Bourchier/Russell Bader (PSU) def. Austin Brooks/Aaron Pfister (MSU), 8-3
1. Denis Bogatov (MSU) def. Jason Lee (PSU), 7-5, 6-4
The Nittany Lions will hit the road for their final road trip of the regular season next weekend. Penn State will travel to Minnesota to take on the Gophers Friday, April 15 at 4 p.m. and Wisconsin to face the Badgers Sunday, April 17 at 11 a.m.