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Jan. 18, 2012
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -
First-year head coach Jeff Zinn officially announced the 2012 spring schedule Tuesday. The Nittany Lions will face a slate full of strong competition in 2012, squaring off against 15 opponents ranked in the pre-season ITA Top-75 team rankings. Penn State will begin play Sunday, Jan. 22 with a trip to Raleigh, N.C. to take on the No. 59 N.C. State Wolfpack.
"We have worked hard all off-season," said Zinn. "The guys cannot wait to get started this weekend. We have an older roster and a lot of talent. The opportunities are there, with so many Top-75 opponents, to prove that we should not be overlooked this season."
Following the opening weekend stop in Raleigh, the Nittany Lions will make their first of nine straight appearances at the Penn State Indoor Tennis Center. Zinn and the Lions will play host to a Sunday (Jan. 28) doubleheader featuring St. Bonaventure and Lehigh to kick-off the home schedule. Penn State will then welcome No. 61 Princeton (Wednesday, Feb. 1) looking to avenge a tight, 4-3, road loss last season. The busy week will conclude with a doubleheader (Saturday, Feb. 4) against No. 34 Virginia Tech and Bloomsburg.
The homestand will continue with a Saturday doubleheader (Feb. 11) as the Nittany Lions welcome Buffalo and Bucknell to University Park. After a two-week break, the Penn State will conclude its non-conference home schedule Saturday, March 1 against Army.
"We have a lot of good teams coming here to start the season," said Zinn. "Coupled with an early test at N.C. State, we have the opportunity to build a lot of momentum heading into the Big Ten season."
Penn State will then head to sunny Florida for spring break where they will face Central Florida (Wednesday, March 7) and No. 46 South Florida (Friday, March 9). The spring break tour will conclude with a match at last season's Big Ten Conference champion and NCAA semifinalist, No. 3 Ohio State (Sunday, March 11). A trip to Ithaca, N.Y. to take on No. 45 Cornell (Saturday, March 17) will then conclude the Nittany Lions' non-conference schedule.
The Nittany Lions will face a tough slate of home conference matches in 2012. Penn State will open their home portion of the Big Ten schedule with an exciting weekend against the Iowa Hawkeyes (Friday, March 30) and their first-ever Big Ten match against the No. 40 Nebraska Cornhuskers (Sunday, April 1). The home slate will continue Friday, April 13 when the Nittany Lions take on Northwestern. The weekend will conclude Sunday, April 15 when Penn State takes on NCAA tournament quarterfinalist, No. 17 Illinois. Finally, Penn State wraps up their home Big Ten schedule Sunday, April 22 against No. 53 Michigan State.
The Lions will also face a stout road schedule in Big Ten play. Following the Big Ten opener at No. 3 Ohio State, Penn State will travel for dates at NCAA tournament-qualifier, No. 29 Indiana, (Friday, March 23) and No. 64 Purdue (Sunday, March 25). They will then head to Minnesota to take on yet another NCAA tournament-qualifier in the No. 25 Golden Gophers (Friday, April 6). The weekend will conclude with a trip to No. 69 Wisconsin, Sunday, April 8. The Nittany Lions will conclude their Big Ten road schedule with a duel against NCAA tournament-qualifier, No. 32 Michigan (Friday, April 20).
Penn State completed a successful 2011 fall season in November with a good showing at the Big Ten Indoor Championships. Freshman Tomas Hanzlik (Prague, Czech Republic) earned a first-round victory over No. 101 Marc Bruche of No. 64 Iowa, 6-7, 6-3, 7-6. Hanzlik enters the spring season ranked No. 80 in the ITA singles rankings. Junior Bryan Welnetz (Laredo, Texas) and sophomore Russell Bader (Austin, Texas) teamed up to earn two, 9-8 (7-0) doubles victories against Ross Guignon and Bruno Abdelnour of No. 17 Illinois.
Zinn was officially named the new Penn State men's tennis head coach Aug. 20. He joins the Nittany Lions following 15 seasons as the head coach of Wake Forest where he amassed a superb 231-157 record, including a 78-62 record in the Atlantic Coast Conference, and 12 NCAA tournament appearances. Zinn inherits eight returning players from a team that went 10-18 (0-10) in 2011.
"I am excited to get started and see just how good we can be this season," said Zinn.