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May 23, 2014
Russell Bader (Austin, Texas) and sophomore Leonard Stakhovsky (Kiev, Ukraine) fell 6-1, 7-6(3) against Ohio State's Peter Kobelt and Kevin Metka on Friday in the NCAA Doubles Championships Round of 16. The match was played at the University of Georgia's McWhorter Courts at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex.
Bader and Stakhovsky, ranked 26th in the ITA Poll, took on the Buckeyes' Kobelt and Metka, ranked 4th.
Kobelt and Metka came out firing, jumping out to a 5-0 lead in the first set. Bader and Stakhovsky won the next game, but the Buckeyes finished off the set, 6-1.
The Nittany Lion duo took a 1-0 lead in a back-and-forth second set. The teams traded the next 11 games, with the Buckeyes forcing a tiebreaker at 6-6. Kobelt and Metka went up 3-0 in the tiebreaker, but with Bader serving, Penn State took the next two points. However, the Buckeyes took two more points to lead 5-2 in the tiebreaker. The teams split the next two points before a Kobelt serve gave the Buckeyes the tiebreaker, 7-3 to win the set, 7-6(3).
"I really liked how Leo and Russell came back in the second set. We righted the ship and stayed ahead in that second set," said Head Coach Jeff Zinn." We were always a game up and the pressure was on them to serve to get back to even. In a match like this between two great teams, it's going to come down to one or two points. We had one break point opportunity in the second set, but we didn't convert and they didn't give us any other chances after that. It came down to a serving match in the tiebreaker and they deserved it, they served better than us and won it."
"That's how close it is between two great teams. It comes down to who executes on the big points and who gets the big serves at the most opportune times and today, Ohio State did that. Congratulations to them. I thought they played a great match and I felt we did too in the second set. It was a great college match that, unfortunately, didn't go in our favor."
Bader and Stakhovsky finished the year with a 19-7 record, including six wins against ranked opponents and three against the Top 25.
Bader ended his career as one of the top doubles players in program history, with 82 career wins. He ends his career in second place on the all-time doubles wins list at Penn State. Bader's 28 overall doubles wins this year are a Penn State single-season record.
"Congratulations to Ohio State for reaching the quarters. Kobelt and Metka played well and served well to control the first set," said Assistant Coach Paul Tobin. "Leo and Russell fought in the 2nd set and had several opportunities to break, but Ohio State came back strong, especially in the tiebreaker. What a great tennis career for Russell, something to be very proud of and we're very fortunate to have had him in our program."
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