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April 30, 2014
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State men's tennis sophomore Leonard Stakhovsky (Kiev, Ukraine) was selected for the NCAA Singles Tournament on Wednesday. Stakhovsky and senior Russell Bader (Kiev, Ukraine) earned a bid for the NCAA Doubles Tournament. The tournaments will be held May 21-26 in Athens, Ga.
After Penn State received a team bid to the NCAA Tournament on Tuesday, they got more recognition on Wednesday for an historic season. The Nittany Lions had a program-best record of 21-5 this spring with eight wins in Big Ten play.
"We're proud that Leo and Russell get to represent Penn State at the highest level," said Head Coach Jeff Zinn. "It's a very deserving honor. They've both had terrific years in singles and doubles. This accomplishment shows their hard work throughout the year. When you're named to the NCAA singles or doubles tournament, it's not only because of your conference record but your overall record against really good players."
This marks the first time in program history that Penn State has had representatives in both the NCAA Singles and Doubles Tournaments in the same year.
Stakhovsky earned an at-large bid as one of the Top 64 singles players in the nation. Stakhovsky, ranked 37th in last week's ITA Poll, is 17-6 this spring with seven wins against ranked opponents. Three of those wins came against Top 40 players, including Illinois' 10th-ranked Jared Hiltzik.
He has four wins against players in the NCAA Singles Tournament field.
Stakhovsky is Penn State's first NCAA Singles selection since Mark Barry in 2005.
Last week, Stakhovsky was a unanimous selection to the All-Big Ten First Team. He won three Big Ten Men's Tennis Athlete of the Week awards, the most for any Nittany Lion in a single season.
Stakhovsky was joined as an All-Big Ten honoree by his doubles partner, Russell Bader, who was selected to the Second Team.
Bader and Stakhovsky received an at-large bid to the doubles field as one of the Top 32 doubles teams in the nation. The pair was ranked 33rd going into the Big Ten Tournament, but knocked off Michigan's 32nd ranked doubles team on Friday.
The duo went 17-5 this spring with four wins against ranked opponents. Two of those wins came against Top 25 opponents, including Ohio State's 3rd-ranked doubles pair, Peter Kobelt and Kevin Metka. They defeated two doubles teams in the NCAA Doubles field.
This is Bader's second appearance in the NCAA Doubles Tournament. Bader and Jason Lee were selected in 2011.
Bader is one of the top doubles players in Penn State history. He has 80 career wins to rank second all-time at Penn State, three wins behind his former partner, Eddie Bourchier. The senior has been on a ranked doubles team in three of his four years.
"This is how hard work pays off. Both Leo and Russell had a tremendous year and showed that they belong in Athens for the championships," said Assistant Coach Paul Tobin. "I'm sure they will both tell you that it was a team effort from all 14 players this year. They were selected and will represent the entire Penn State team. As coaches, we couldn't be more proud of them."
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