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April 11, 2008
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The 47th-ranked Penn State men's tennis team (13-9, 4-3) caps off its home schedule with a noon Big Ten match against the No. 73 Michigan State Spartans (11-10, 0-7) on Saturday at Sarni Tennis Center. Admission is free.
The Nittany Lions come into the match having won seven of their last eight outings. Penn State currently sits in fifth in the Big Ten standings with three matches to play before the Big Ten Championship at Iowa. The Nittany Lions are coming off a 6-1 triumph over Purdue on Sunday and a pair of 7-0 sweeps of Bucknell and Bloomsburg on Wednesday.
The match will mark the final home showing for three Penn State seniors. James Dwyer (Peachtree City, Ga.), Michael James (Clifton, Va.) and Chris Sherman (Edina, Minn.) will be playing at Sarni Tennis Center for the final time on Saturday. Dwyer is 69-27 in his singles career at Penn State. James has chalked up a 105-37 career mark in his four seasons at Happy Valley. Sherman possesses a 20-6 career record heading into the Michigan State match.
Freshman Eddie Bourchier (Hobart, Australia) got off to a bit of a rocky start to his collegiate dual-match career, but has gone on to win his last six singles outings. The Australian rookie is now 20-11 overall this season, including 10-7 in dual matches. After going 2-0 at the No. 4 spot against Illinois and Purdue, Bourchier is now 5-2 in Big Ten play this spring.
The Nittany Lions head into the final home match of the season weekend with a stout 7-2 home record. Penn State has won its last six home matches dating back to the March 28 victory over Minnesota (6-1).
The No. 73-ranked Michigan State Spartans come into the weekend on a seven-match losing streak. All seven losses have come against Big Ten opponents. Michigan State started the spring with an 11-3 record, but has since dropped its last seven. The Spartans are 10-2 in matches in East Lansing, but just 1-8 in matches on the road. Senior Nick Rinks leads Michigan State at the top of the starting lineup. Rinks is 14-5 this spring at the No. 1 spot. He is also 3-4 in Big Ten play. Alex Forger has played the bulk of the spring duals at the No. 2 spot in the singles lineup. Forger is 7-10 overall in duals and 6-10 at No. 2.
Penn State leads the all-time series with Michigan State by a 16-9 margin. Last season, the Spartans rallied from 3-1 down to pull off a 4-3 upset victory over then-37th-ranked Penn State in East Lansing. The Nittany Lions last defeated Michigan State on April 23, 2006 at Sarni Tennis Center (6-1).
Penn State will finish off its regular season next weekend with a pair of critical Big Ten road matches. The Nittany Lions will first travel to No. 2 Ohio State on April 19 for a noon match with the conference-leading Buckeyes. One day later, Penn State will take on Indiana in Bloomington at noon.