Men's Tennis Heads to Big Ten Tournament Thursday
April 26, 2011
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State men's tennis team (10-17, 0-10) will travel to Madison, Wis. for a Big Ten Tournament opening round match. The 11th seeded Nittany Lions will face the sixth seeded Wisconsin Badgers (11-12, 5-5) Thursday, April 28 at 12:30 p.m. (ET) at the Nielson Tennis Center.
Last weekend, Penn State dropped its final match of the regular season against No. 24 Indiana, 6-1. Penn State fell in all three doubles matches, falling into an early 1-0 hole. Senior Eddie Bourchier (Hobart, Australia) provided the only spark for the Nittany Lions. Bourchier and Jeremy Langer battled in the No. 1 singles bout, splitting the first two sets. Bourchier jumped ahead 5-4 in the final set before firing an exceptional forehand shot that Langer could only weakly hit into the net, giving Bourchier a singles victory in his final home match.
Bourchier closed the 2010-11 season with 23 doubles victories, including 17 wins this spring. He leads all Nittany Lions with 83 career doubles victories, passing Michael James' previous record of 78 doubles triumphs with an 8-4 victory over Illinois. Since pairing with freshman Russell Bader (Austin, Texas) the duo has posted a 13-8 record and five wins against Big Ten foes. The duo was ranked No. 71 in the nation in the April 26 ITA doubles rankings. The Aussie has also added 11 spring victories, primarily from the No. 1 singles position.
Bader has been equally impressive in his freshman campaign, posting a total of 18 doubles victories in 2010-11. He also leads the Nittany Lions in singles play, earning 17 spring triumphs and a 22-11 overall record in 2010-11.
Head coach Greg Van Emburgh leads the No. 71 Wisconsin Badgers into Thursday's opening round match. With seven freshmen on the roster, the Badgers enter the weekend with one of the youngest rosters in the Big Ten. Wisconsin has played tough competition this spring but has managed to earn some impressive victories in Big Ten play, including back-to-back 4-3 wins over No. 53 Michigan State and No. 60 Purdue. Senior Marek Michalicka leads the Badgers in singles play, positing a 16-6 record at No. 1 singles. He also earned the No. 57 ranking in the April 26 ITA singles rankings. Michalicka and Billy Bertha team up to lead the Badgers in doubles play. The tandem has earned a 16-5 record in the No. 1 doubles position and the No. 65 ITA doubles ranking.
The winner of the Penn State-Wisconsin match will face the third seeded Minnesota Golden Gophers (17-4, 8-2) in the quarterfinals Friday at 3 p.m. (ET). The Nittany Lions will look to rebound against the Gophers after dropping a 6-1 decision at Minnesota April 15.