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May 22, 2014
ATHENS, Ga. - Senior Russell Bader (Austin, Texas) and sophomore Leonard Stakhovsky (Kiev, Ukraine) advanced to the NCAA Doubles Championship Round of 16 with their 6-3, 6-4 win against Memphis' David O'Hare and Joe Salisbury in the First Round on Thursday. The NCAA Tournament is being hosted by the University of Georgia.
Bader and Stakhovsky, ranked 26th in the ITA Doubles Poll, met the Tigers' O'Hare and Salisbury, ranked 13th.
It is the first NCAA Doubles win in program history since 1994 when Greg Gaunt and Ivan Spinner won 6-3, 6-2 against Oklahoma's Glenn Kellett and Brett Zeuschner.
"In a season of firsts, I feel so proud of these two players that they were able to get that first win in the NCAA Tournament," said Head Coach Jeff Zinn. "They played well under pressure in the NCAA Tournament atmosphere. Leo played today like the Lion we know he is. Russell played really well and they played great complimentary tennis. "
"Russell and Leo are one round away from being All-Americans. That's very exciting but they're not there yet. We're focused now on the second round match against Ohio State or South Carolina."
In the first set, Bader and Stakhovsky jumped out to a 1-0 lead, but Memphis won the next three games. The Penn State duo responded by winning five straight games to win the set, 6-3.
Bader and Stakhovsky continued their momentum in the second set, taking an early 4-0 lead. The Tigers broke the streak by winning a game, but Penn State got the next game to lead 5-1. Memphis went on a 3-0 run to come within one game at 5-4, but the Nittany Lions finished off the 6-4 set win.
The Penn State pair improved to 19-6 this spring and moved to 6-3 against ranked opponents, including three wins against the Top 25. O'Hare and Salisbury were ranked as high as 3rd this year.
With the win, Bader also moved within one win of first place all-time at Penn State. He now has 82 career doubles wins, one behind Eddie Bourchier's 83 wins from 2007-11.
On Friday, Bader and Stakhovsky will meet the winner of the match between Ohio State's Peter Kobelt and Kevin Metka, ranked 4th, and South Carolina's Chip Cox and Tsvetan Mihov, ranked 30th, in the Round of 16.
Bader and Stakhovsky defeated Kobelt and Metka, 8-6, on March 2.
With a win on Friday, Bader and Stakhovsky will become the first All-Americans in program history.
"A huge win for Leo and Russell beating the #13 team in the nation and getting a shot at All-American," said Assistant Coach Paul Tobin. "We worked hard during the week in Athens on returns and hard volleys and it paid off today. Big match tomorrow against Ohio State or South Carolina."
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