No. 23 Penn State Falls 4-1 Against No. 4 Virginia in NCAA Second Round
May 11, 2014
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - The No. 23 Penn State men's tennis team dropped a 4-1 match against No. 4 Virginia in Sunday's NCAA Second Round match. The Nittany Lions won the doubles point with victories at No. 1 and No. 2, but Virginia won four singles matches. Penn State finished the year with a 22-6 record. Virginia improved to 25-2 and moves onto the NCAA Round of 16.
The Nittany Lions finish an historical season in which they set school records for wins(22), Big Ten wins(8) and wins against ranked opponents(11). Penn State competed in the NCAA Tournament for the sixth time in school history.
"There's a reason Virginia are the defending National Champions," said Head Coach Jeff Zinn. "They play unbelievably well in singles. All of their players play well and they made us not play up to our level because they are so talented."
Penn State clinched the doubles point with wins at the No. 1 and No. 2 positions. It marked the 24th time in 28 matches that the Nittany Lions won the doubles point.
"Doubles has been a strong point for us this year and we had a lot of confidence in our doubles teams," said Zinn. "I thought we had the advantage in doubles and had to have that point and we got it."
Senior Russell Bader (Austin, Texas) and sophomore Leonard Stakhovsky (Kiev, Ukraine), ranked 26th in the ITA Poll, took on the Cavaliers' Luca Corinteli and Mac Styslinger, ranked 53rd. Bader and Stakhovsky jumped out to a 5-2 lead on their way to an 8-5 win. The duo improved to 18-6 this spring and now have five wins against ranked opponents.
With the win, Bader earned career victory number 81 to put him two wins behind Eddie Bourchier (2007-11) for first all-time at Penn State. Bader and Stakhovsky will compete at the NCAA Doubles Tournament later this month.
At the second doubles spot, junior Michael Reilly (Raleigh, N.C.) and senior Chris Young (Melbourne, Australia) matched up against Virginia's Alex Domijan and Harrison Richmond, ranked 61st in the nation. The Penn State duo took an early 4-2 advantage and never looked back, winning 8-5 to clinch the doubles point. They moved to 15-2 this spring and now have a mark of 3-0 against ranked opponents.
Sophomores Matt Barry (Lido Beach, N.Y.) and Roman Trkulja (Toronto, Canada) combined at No. 3 doubles against UVA's Justin Shane and Mitchell Frank. The Cavaliers won 8-1. Barry and Trkulja dropped to 5-2 in dual matches.
In the match at No. 1 singles, Stakhovsky, ranked 37th in the nation, took on the Cavaliers' Alex Domijan, ranked 6th in the ITA Poll. Stakhovsky cut Domijan's first set lead to 2-1, but Domijan took the next four games to win the set, 6-1. In the second set, Stakhovsky came within one game at 3-2, but Domijan finished off the set, getting the next three points. Stakhovsky fell to 18-7 in dual matches.
Stakhovsky will compete at the NCAA Singles Championships later this month. Bader faced UVA's Mitchell Frank, ranked 4th in the nation, at No. 2 singles. Frank won the first set 6-0. In the second set, Bader took a 1-0 lead, but could not hold on as Frank won the set 6-2. Bader dropped to 21-7 this spring and 28-11 overall. Bader finishes his career with 95 singles wins and in third place all-time at Penn State.
Freshman Alex Fennell (Bala Cynwyd, Pa.) matched up against the Cavaliers' Ryan Shane. In a back-and-forth first set, the two were tied at 4-4, but Shane won the next two games to take the set. Shane kept his momentum going with a 6-2 victory in the second set to clinch the match point for Virginia. Fennell finished the spring with a record of 16-10.
At the fifth singles spot, Trkulja competed against Virginia's Justin Shane. In the first set, Shane jumped out to a 4-0 lead on his way to a 6-1 set win. He followed that up with a 6-0 victory in the second set. Trkulja dropped to 14-12 this spring.
Barry faced UVA's Thai-Son Kwiatkowski, ranked 113th in the nation, at No. 4 singles. Barry won tight first set, 6-4. Barry was leading 4-2 in the second set when the match was stopped. Barry finished with a 17-5 dual match record and a 26-9 overall record.
Freshman Nika Dolidze (Tbilisi, Georgia) started at No. 6 singles against J.C. Aragone. Dolidze dropped the first set, 6-2, and was trailing 5-3 in the second set when the match was halted.
"The boys went into this match with an attitude that we were here to win," said Assistant Coach Paul Tobin. "We knew we had to get the doubles point and give ourselves a shot at picking up three more points. The guys left everything on the court during doubles and led the entire time at No. 1 and No. 2. With about 500 fans watching, Mike and Chris pulled out a huge win to give us the point. "
"We knew UVA would come out strong in singles and they showed us why they are No. 4 in the country. We had opportunities at some positions, but not enough. I think Matt Barry would've pulled out his match if it finished."
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1. #26 Bader/Stakhovsky(PSU) def. #53 Corinteli/Styslinger(UVA), 8-5.
2. Reilly/Young(PSU) def. #61 Domijan/Richmond(UVA), 8-5.
3. J. Shane/Frank(UVA) def. Barry/Trkulja(PSU), 8-1.
Order of Finish: 3,1,2
1. #6 Alex Domijan(UVA) def. #37 Leo Stakhovsky(PSU), 6-1, 6-2.
2. #4 Mitchell Frank(UVA) def. Russell Bader(PSU), 6-0, 6-2.
3. #46 Ryan Shane(UVA) def. Alex Fennell(PSU), 6-4, 6-2.
4. Matt Barry(PSU) vs. #113 Thai-Son Kwiatkowski(UVA), 6-4, 4-2, unfinished.
5. Justin Shane(UVA) def. Roman Trkulja(PSU), 6-1, 6-0.
6. Nika Dolidze(PSU) vs. J.C. Aragone(UVA), 2-6, 3-5, unfinished.
Order of Finish: 5,1,2,3