Nittany Lion Tennis Downs Indiana, 5-2, in Regular Season Finale
April 20, 2008
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Behind strong singles play, the No. 42-ranked Penn State men's tennis team (15-10, 6-4) closed out the regular season with a 5-2 victory over 41st-ranked Indiana (15-8, 5-5) on Sunday afternoon at the IU Tennis Center.
After dropping the doubles point, the Nittany Lions came out firing in singles action, notching five of the first six completed sets. The Lions went on to score victories in five of the six singles bouts to secure the 5-2 victory over the Hoosiers. With the win, the Nittany Lions close out the season with a 6-4 record in Big Ten play for the second-consecutive season. The win over Indiana marked Penn State's seventh victory over a ranked opponent this season.
"The guys did an outstanding job rallying and playing hard for each other after a tough Ohio State loss on Saturday," said second-year head coach Todd Doebler. "After losing the doubles point, the guys came out with tremendous energy. We jumped out to a lead in five of the six singles matches and we did a good job of riding that momentum."
The Hoosiers came out on fire in doubles action with a pair of dominating victories in the first two completed matches. The Nittany Lion duo of senior Michael James (Clifton, Va.) and junior Brendan Lynch (North Potomac, Md.), who are ranked 14th in the nation, fell the Indian team of Phillip Eilers and Lachlan Ferguson by a score of 8-2 at No. 1. The loss marked only the third dual setback for James and Lynch, as they fall to 14-3 this spring.
Indiana sealed the doubles point with an 8-2 victory from Dara McLoughlin and Thomas Richter over junior Adam Slagter (Austin, Texas) and senior Chris Sherman (Edina, Minn.) at the No. 2 slot. Slagter and Sherman fall to 5-4 in matches this spring.
Senior James Dwyer (Peachtree City, Ga.) and freshman Eddie Bourchier (Hobart, Australia) won their fifth-consecutive doubles decision with an 8-3 triumph at the No. 3 spot against Indiana's Santiago Gruter and Michael McCarthy. Dwyer and Bourchier are 7-3 in duals and 12-5 overall this season.
The match quickly turned in favor of the Nittany Lions when the two teams took to the court for singles matches. The Hoosiers' 1-0 lead was quickly erased as Penn State scored two quick straight-sets victories to take a 2-1 lead. Bourchier rolled over Grutar at No. 5 by a score of 6-2, 6-1 to get Penn State on the board. The Lion rookie is now 22-12 overall and 12-8 in his first season as a collegian.
James rebounded from a disappointing defeat on Saturday with a convincing 6-1, 6-2 decision against Richter in the No. 1 bout. The Lion senior, who is ranked 63rd in the nation, improved to 26-13 this season with the victory. James' win also gave Penn State its first lead of the afternoon, 2-1.
Nonetheless, Indiana's Lachlan Ferguson ousted Dwyer at No. 4 to knot the overall match at 2-2. Ferguson notched a 6-3, 6-3 victory over the Lion senior, snapping Dwyer's four-match winning streak.
From there, the Nittany Lions took control of the match, and picked up victories in each of the three remaining matches to cap off the 5-2 victory. Lynch rebounded from a loss at Ohio State with a 6-4, 6-2 victory over Eilers at the No. 3 spot, allowing the Lions to re-take a 3-2 lead. With the victory, Lynch owns a team-best 27-9 overall singles record this season.
Sophomore Guillaume St-Maurice (St-Eustache, Quebec) clinched the overall match for Penn State with a straight-sets victory over Indian's Michael McCarthy at No. 6. St-Maurice notched the first by a score of 6-3. He then closed out the match with a 7-5 decision in the second to set the overall match score at 4-2. St-Maurice has now won nine of his last 12 dual outings.
Slagter capped off the Nittany Lion victory with a three-set triumph over McLoughlin at No. 2. The Lion southpaw scored the first by a 6-4 margin, but McLaughlin came right back in the second with a 7-3 victory in a tiebreaker. However, Slagter slammed the door with a dominating third, 6-1. He is now 10-7 in dual matches this spring.
Penn State finished the Big Ten regular season with four players chalking up seven victories. Bourchier, Dwyer and Lynch each finished with a 7-3 mark in Big Ten dual matches, while St-Maurice tallied a 7-2 record in conference matches.
Penn State will now wait for the Big Ten Championship draw to be announced. The tournament featuring all 11 teams in the Big Ten is slated for April 24-27 in Iowa City.
Final Score: #42 Penn State 5, #41 Indiana 2