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March 23, 2014
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lions (4-11, 0-3 Big Ten) fell to the No. 15 Michigan Wolverines (11-3, 3-0 Big Ten) at home Sunday afternoon in the Penn State Indoor Tennis Center, 7-0.
"A lot of credit goes to Michigan, they're a good team," said interim Head Coach Chris Cagle. "They are highly ranked for a reason. Not only are they a good team, I think they are a really good indoor team, probably the best indoor team we've played this year."
Carmen Sandor (Toronto, Canada) and Katherine Whiteaway (Sawbridgeworth, England) put up a fight to start the match in doubles but were unable to see it come into fruition as the match went unfinished when Michigan clinched victories at the No. 1 and No. 2 matches. The Nittany Lions pair trailed 6-5 against Michigan's No. 2 pair and the nation's 75th-ranked duo of Amy Zhu and Sarah Lee when the match was called.
Moments after the Wolverines clinched the doubles point with No. 18 Emina Bektas and Brooke Bolender;s 8-3 defeat of Marie-Frederique Bedard (Montreal, Canada) and Dasha Sapogova (Minsk, Belarus) at No. 1.
Michigan went up by two points early into the singles competition after Bedard retired in the first set of her match against Amy Zhu. The nation's 7th-ranked player, Emina Bektas, increased the Wolverines' lead to three points with a 6-1, 6-2 win over Sapogova in the No. 1 spot.
At No. 3 singles Michigan clinched the victory when No. 103 Sarah Lee knocked off Sandor, 6-0, 6-3.
After dropping the first set in No. 6 singles Shukow was able to fire back with a 6-2 set victory against Kristen Dodge forcing a super breaker. In the tiebreak set, Dodge earned the 10-3 win to give Michigan a 5-0 lead. Soon after the match's end Whiteaway retired from her match with Ucros at No. 5 singles.
"How far Taylor's come since she's been here has been really nice to see," said Cagle. "Not only is she a freshman, but she's a freshman that didn't get here until January. She's gone from just getting acclimated in college tennis to being very competitive in her matches and giving herself opportunities to win."
Bolender bested Blik in the No. 2 match to close out the win for Michigan. After tying the match at two games each in the second set, Bolender went on to win the next four and take the match, 6-3, 6-2.
"We need to come through and execute in the clutch a little bit more on some of these courts to finish off sets and finish off matches," said Cagle after the match.
The Nittany Lions will look to bounce back when they travel to Illinois next weekend to face the Fighting Illini on Saturday and Northwestern on Sunday. Both matches are scheduled for 11 a.m.