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May 9, 2014
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - The No. 23 Penn State men's tennis team begins NCAA Tournament play on Saturday as they take on UNC Wilmington in a first round contest. The match starts at 9 a.m. at Snyder Tennis Center. The winner will advance to Sunday's second round match at 1 p.m. against either No. 4 Virginia or Army.
The Nittany Lions, led by Head Coach Jeff Zinn, are making their sixth tournament appearance in program history and their first since 2008. They also traveled to Charlottesville in 2008.
Penn State looks to continue a record-setting season in which they are 21-5 and went 8-3 in the Big Ten. Penn State also won ten matches against ranked opponents and went 15-0 at home.
Sophomore Leonard Stakhovsky (Kiev, Ukraine) is ranked 37th in the ITA Poll with a mark of 17-6 this year while competing exclusively at No. 1 singles. Stakhovsky has seven wins against ranked opponents. The sophomore was selected as a unanimous First Team All-Big Ten honoree and was also selected to the NCAA Singles Tournament.
Senior Russell Bader (Austin, Texas) is 20-6 this spring and 27-10 overall while competing mostly at No. 2 singles. Bader is currently on a three-match win streak.
Bader has 94 career singles wins and sits in a tie for third place all-time at Penn State with Michael Carter(1993-97).
Freshman Alex Fennell (Bala Cynwyd, Pa.) is 15-9 at the third singles position. He has 19 wins overall.
Matt Barry (Lido Beach, N.Y.) is 16-5 this spring while playing mostly at No. 4 singles. The sophomore has 25 wins overall and has won at least 24 matches in each of his first two years.
Fellow sophomore Roman Trkulja (Toronto, Canada) has 14 wins this spring and an overall record of 22-15 while playing mostly at No. 5 singles.
Four different players have competed at the sixth singles spot for Penn State this season. Nika Dolidze (Tbilisi, Georgia) has started the last three matches at No. 6.
Bader and Stakhovsky, ranked 26th in the nation, combine at the top doubles spot. The duo is 17-5 this spring with four wins against ranked opponents. They have also won four straight matches. They will compete in the NCAA Doubles Tournament later this month.
Bader is one of the top doubles players in Nittany Lions history. He has 80 career doubles wins, three behind his former doubles partner, Eddie Bourchier (2007-11) for first place in school history. Bader has 27 doubles wins overall this year, tied for the single-season record at Penn State.
Barry and Trkulja are 5-0 since being inserted into the doubles lineup at No. 3.
UNC Wilmington is 15-6 this spring and won both the regular season and postseason CAA Championship. They are 6-4 against ranked opponents.
Rafael Aita, ranked 50th in the ITA Poll, is 14-4 at the No. 1 singles spot. He has four wins against ranked opponents and is riding a four-match win streak.
Santtu Leskinen leads the Seahawks with 15 wins while playing mostly at No. 5. Kaue Pereira has 13 victories, while Pedro Mol has 11 and Sam Williams has 10. Christian Van der Burgh is 8-1 at No. 6 singles and has won seven straight matches.
Aita and Williams are 10-3 at the top doubles spot. Mol and Pereira have combined to go 13-4 at No. 2 doubles. Van der Burgh and Zach Hublitz are 2-3 at No. 3 doubles.
This is the first ever meeting between the schools.
Live stats for the match are available at http://www.virginiasports.com/sports/m-tennis/spec-rel/va-m-tennis-live-stats.html.
Please check back to GoPSUSports.com throughout the weekend for more coverage of the Penn State men's tennis team. Updates are also available on our Facebook, Penn State Men's Tennis, and Twitter, @pennstateMTEN, pages.