April 15, 2012
Final Stats |
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -
The Penn State men's tennis team (11-11, 1-8) hit a speed bump in the form of the No. 23 Illinois Fighting Illini (13-6, 7-2) Sunday afternoon. Junior Bryan Welnetz (Laredo, Texas) rebounded in fourth singles to earn an impressive victory on an otherwise tough day that saw the Nittany Lions fall, 6-1.
Penn State's doubles attack started slowly as junior C.J. Griffin (Portland, Mich.) and red-shirt junior Christopher Hasyn (Lansdale, Pa.) dropped the No. 2 doubles match, 8-0. Welnetz and sophomore Russell Bader (Austin, Texas) then fell to No. 25 Dennis Nevolo and Roy Kalmanovich, 8-2. After Illinois sealed the first point, senior Taylor Cohen (Philadelphia, Pa.) and freshman Tomas Hanzlik (Prague, Czech Republic) forced a breaker on court three with the score tied at 5-5. Farris Gosea and Stephen Hoh upended the duo's bid for Penn State's first win of the day though, winning the breaker, 7-2.
Penn State continued its slow start as Hasyn fell to Hoh, 6-2, 6-2 in fifth singles. Next, Bader jumped out to a 5-1 lead in the first set against Kalmanovich. Kalmanovich went on a huge run from that point. The No. 38 singles player in the nation ran off 12 straight games en route to earning a 7-5, 6-0 win on court two.
Trailing 3-0, Penn State turned to Cohen in hopes of righting the ship. Cohen and Bruno Abdelnour battled back and forth in the first set, eventually ending up locked in a 6-6 tie. The tandem fought point for point in the breaker, which saw Cohen eventually score on a forehand winner to re-tie the breaker at 10-10. Abdelnour then took two straight points to earn a 12-10 win in the breaker and go up one set to none. His momentum carried into the second set as Abdelnour secured a 7-6 (10), 6-1 victory to clinch Illinois' seventh Big Ten conference victory of the season.
Hanzlik then opened up against No. 5 Nevolo in impressive fashion. The freshman jumped out to a 5-3 lead with a flurry of backhand returns and forehand attacks. Hanzlik could not continue the energy though, eventually falling 7-5 in the first set. Hanzlik took a 2-0 second set lead, but once again could not finish the deal, falling 6-3 and giving Illinois a 5-0 lead.
All attention then turned to Welnetz's match against Tim Kopinski on court four. Welnetz dropped the first set, 6-4, but began chipping back in the second frame. Trailing early, the junior fought back and eventually sent the set to a tie breaker. The two went back and forth before Welnetz finally secured a 7-4 win, which sent the tandem to a decisive third set. There was no separation to be found early as the tandem battled to a 9-9 tie. Finally, Welnetz was able to gain the much needed separation as he scored two straight points and earned the Nittany Lion's first win of the day.
Finally, Griffin fought hard against Gosea as he attempted to carry the Lions to their second triumph in a row. Griffin took an early lead, but could not hold on in the first set, falling 7-5. The junior battled back to force a breaker in the second set, before ultimately winning, 7-6 (6). He could not continue the positive momentum though, falling 10-2 in the final set.
Penn State will wrap up the regular season next weekend with a split travel schedule. The Nittany Lions will head out to Michigan for a 4 p.m. match against the Michigan Wolverines, Friday, April 20. They will return home to close out the regular season on Sunday, April 22 with a noon bout against the Michigan State Spartans.
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#23 Illinois 6, Penn State 1:
1. #25 Dennis Nevolo/Roy Kalmanovich (ILL) def. Russell Bader/Bryan Welnetz (PSU) 8-2
2. Ross Guignon/Tim Kopinski (ILL) def. C.J. Griffin/Christopher Hasyn (PSU) 8-0
3. Farris Gosea/Stephen Hoh (ILL) def. Taylor Cohen/Tomas Hanzlik (PSU) 6-5 (7-2)
Order of finish: 2, 1, 3
1. #5 Dennis Nevolo (ILL) def. Tomas Hanzlik (PSU) 7-5, 6-3
2. #38 Roy Kalmanovich (ILL) def. Russell Bader (PSU) 7-5, 6-0
3. Bruno Abdelnour (ILL) def. Taylor Cohen (PSU) 7-6 (12-10), 6-1
4. Bryan Welnetz (PSU) def. Tim Kopinski (ILL) 4-6, 7-6 (7-4), 11-9
5. Stephen Hoh (ILL) def. Christopher Hasyn (PSU) 6-2, 6-2
6. Farris Gosea (ILL) def. C.J. Griffin (PSU) 7-5, 6-7 (6-8), 10-2
Order of finish: 5, 2, 3, 1, 4, 6