Men's Tennis Looks to Climb the Big Ten Ladder This Weekend
April 5, 2012
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Following its first Big Ten win of the season, the Penn State men's tennis team (11-7, 1-4) hits the road this weekend looking to gain some ground in the Big Ten standings. The Nittany Lions will square off against No. 47 Minnesota on Friday, April 6 at 3 p.m. They will continue the midwestern road swing at noon on Sunday, April 8 against a tough Wisconsin squad.
Last time out, the Nittany Lions could not quite carry over the momentum from their first conference victory since April 25, 2010, falling to No. 68 Nebraska, 4-3. Penn State started slowly, dropping all three doubles matches and two of their first three singles contests. Senior Taylor Cohen (Philadelphia, Pa.) would not allow the Nittany Lions to go quietly though, earning a, 6-3, 6-3, third singles victory.
From there, the frantic comeback bid was on. Junior Bryan Welnetz (Laredo, Texas) posted a, 6-2, 6-4, victory on court four and freshman Tomas Hanzlik (Prague, Czech Republic) evened the match at 3-3 by taking down No. 79 Christopher Aumeller (6-4, 3-6, 6-0) in convincing fashion. Penn State fell just short, though, as sophomore Russell Bader (Austin, Texas) could not outlast No. 95 Benedikt Lindheim, giving the Huskers a 4-3 win.
Cohen has been providing a steady source of leadership for the Nittany Lions all season. The senior co-captain leads the team with 13 singles victories, including a 5-1 record since moving up to third singles. He also boasts an 8-2 record in his last 10 bouts and is currently riding a three-match winning streak.
Four other Nittany Lions join Cohen with more than 10 singles victories on the season. Bader leads the rest of the pack with 12 wins and a 6-4 record over his last 10 matches. Welnetz also has posted an 11-6 spring record. Red-shirt junior co-captain Christopher Hasyn (Lansdale, Pa.) and Hanzlik round out the formidable Lions singles attack with 10 wins each.
Senior Jason Lee (Melbourne, Australia) continues to climb the all-time doubles victories chart. The senior co-captain currently claims sole possession of sixth place on Penn State's career doubles wins list after teaming with Bader to clinch an 11th victory of the season. With a triumph this weekend Lee will tie Michael Carter (1993-1997) and Mark Dorfman (1995-2000) for fifth place with 67 wins. If Lee can earn two victories this weekend he will move into a three-man tie for fourth place all-time with 68 wins. Lee and Bader remain No. 25 in the ITA Top-75 doubles poll this week, as well.
The No. 47 Minnesota Golden Gophers (8-5, 3-2) enter Friday's contest on a two-match losing streak. The Gophers have faced a tough schedule though, going 4-5 against Top-75 opponents, including back-to-back wins over No. 40 Virginia Tech (4-3) and No. 39 Drake (5-2). Minnesota is led by sixth-year head coach Geoff Young and buoyed by the No. 80 singles player in the nation, Leandro Toledo. Toledo has posted nine wins on the season, including seven triumphs since being moved up to the No. 2 slot. Rok Bonin and Julian Dehn have been solid contributors for the Gophers, as well, posting 10 wins each. The duo has garnered national acclaim for their doubles play though, posting an impressive 11-1 record and climbing as high at No. 22 in the most recent ITA doubles poll.
Led by head coach Greg Van Emburgh, the Wisconsin Badgers (8-7, 0-3) are looking to snap a two-match losing streak. Fredrik Ask leads the Badgers in singles play with a 9-5 record thus far. Billy Bertha and Ask team together to form the Badgers first doubles team. The duo is currently ranked No. 21 nationally and has posted an 8-4 record on court one this season.
Following the weekend road trip, the Nittany Lions will return to Happy Valley for two Big Ten bouts. Penn State will open the weekend homestand on Friday, April 13 with a 3:30 p.m. contest against the Northwestern Wildcats. They will wrap up the weekend with an 11 a.m. bout against the Illinois Fighting Illini on Sunday, April 15. Admission is free for all matches held at the Sarni Tennis Center, weather permitting. Free pizza will be served to all fans in attendance.