Nittany Lion Tennis to Meet No. 27 VCU in the First Round of the NCAA Championship
May 7, 2008
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - For the third straight year, the 39th-ranked Nittany Lion men's tennis team (15-11, 6-4 Big Ten) will take part in the NCAA Men's Tennis Championship. Penn State will meet 27th-ranked VCU (19-7, 5-0 CAA) in the first round of the 64-team draw on Saturday at 1 p.m. in Charlottesville, Va.
The Nittany Lions head into the tournament having won nine of their last 12 matches. In his second season at the helm of the Nittany Lions, head coach Todd Doebler led Penn State to a 6-4 record in Big Ten play for the second year in a row, which tied a program-best mark in conference matches. The Lions notched seven victories over ranked opponents this spring, including a 4-3 triumph over then-21st-ranked Alabama at the Blue-Gray Tennis Classic.
Following the first round matchups, the Penn State-VCU winner will move on to face the winner of the No. 1 Virginia-Fairleigh Dickinson match. The two winners will meet on Sunday at 1 p.m. at the Snyder Tennis Center on the campus of Virginia. Sunday's winner will move into the Round of 16 on the campus of Tulsa.
Senior Michael James (Clifton, Va.), who will be heading to his home state for the bout with VCU, leads Penn State into the NCAA Championship. James, who was named to the All-Big Ten Team for the second time this spring, is ranked 60th in the ITA National Collegiate singles rankings. The Lion senior is 12-9 in duals this spring, including 12 matches against ranked players. Overall, the Nittany Lion senior is 8-10 against ranked opponents this season. He most recently knocked off 62nd-ranked Matko Maravic from Michigan in the Big Ten Championship. James owns a 27-13 singles record this season. James picked up his 100th career victory earlier this spring at Cornell. He is 108-38 for his career.
Also leading the Nittany Lions into the NCAA tournament is junior Brendan Lynch (North Potomac, Md.). He owns a team-best 27-10 record in 2008, including a 16-7 mark in dual matches. Lynch finished 7-3 in the Big Ten, and has won five of his last seven singles outings. He was voted the team's Most Valuable Player after tallying a stellar season on and off the court this spring.
James, Lynch and freshman Eddie Bourchier (Hobart, Australia) have each reached the 20-win plateau this season in singles action. Fueled by a stellar fall season, James currently owns a 27-13 overall record in his last season at Penn State. Lynch is a team-best 27-10 in singles action this year. Bourchier is 22-13 in his first collegiate season.
In doubles action, James and Lynch will lead Penn State into the NCAA Championship. They have gelled into a stout doubles team during the dual match season this spring, and are ranked No. 32 in the ITA collegiate doubles rankings. Lynch and James are a 14-4 as a doubles duo thus far in 2008.
VCU brings a 19-7 mark into the NCAA Championship. The Rams captured their 11th Colonial Athletic Association title in the last 13 years after knocking off William & Mary by a score of 4-1 to claim the title. Ranked as high as 19th this spring, the Rams enter the tournament riding a four-match winning streak. VCU has won seven of its last eight matches, dating back to a 5-2 triumph over then-57th-ranked William & Mary on March 28. The streak also included ranked wins over South Florida (4-2), Louisville (4-1), Denver (4-2) and William & Mary (4-1) in the CAA tournament final. VCU notched its biggest win of the season back on Feb. 10 with a 4-3 victory over then-No. 11 Wake Forest.
Penn State is 0-1 all-time against VCU. The Rams took the only meeting between the two schools back in 1985 in Blacksburg, Va. by a score of 4-1.
Live scoring will be available all weekend long in Virginia. Fans can log on to Virginia's NCAA Regional page on www.virginiasports.com for the live stats link or follow the link on GoPSUsports.com. For more information on the 2008 NCAA Championships, log on to NCAA.com.