Nittany Lions Ranked 40th in First ITA National Team Tennis Rankings
Jan. 14, 2008
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State men's tennis team was ranked 40th in the first set of Fila/Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Collegiate team rankings, released by the ITA on Jan. 8. In addition to the team's spot in the rankings, senior Michael James (Clifton, Va.) enters the season No. 51 in singles rankings.
Led by second-year head coach Todd Doebler, the Nittany Lion men's tennis team will kick off its regular season on Sunday by traveling to South Bend, Ind., to take on the 12th-ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Eck Tennis Pavilion.
The Nittany Lions have five teams ranked in the top 30 of the ITA rankings on the schedule this spring, with the likelihood of more with trips to the ITA Intercollegiate Indoor Team Championships and Blue-Gray Tennis Classic on tap. In addition to Notre Dame (No. 12), Ohio State (No. 3), Illinois (No. 8), Michigan (No. 21) and Wisconsin (No. 27) all hold spots in the top 30.
Penn State finished last season ranked 43rd in the ITA rankings after falling to Pepperdine (4-1) in the first round of the NCAA Championships in May. The Nittany Lions started the 2007 dual season ranked No. 50 in the team poll, and reached a program-high 34th in April after knocking off No. 29 Minnesota.
James, who finished the fall ranked No. 1 in the ITA Northeast Regional Rankings, posted a 15-4 record during the latter stages of 2007. In doing so, the Lion senior manufactured the best fall season of his career, which included trips to the ITA All American Tennis Championships and ITA Intercollegiate Indoor Championships. James also picked up his first career singles crown by rolling through the ITA Northeast Regional Championship draw. He recorded two victories over ranked opponents during the fall season. In addition to his individual accolades, the Nittany Lion senior posted four consecutive victories to lead Penn State to its first ECAC Championship. He brings a 96-29 overall record into the season.
Penn State will kick off the season at noon on Sunday at Notre Dame. The Nittany Lions will return to University Park for their home opener on Sat., Jan. 26 with a doubleheader slated. They will take on Binghamton at 10 a.m., followed by St. Joseph's at 3 p.m. in the Penn State Indoor Tennis Center.