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April 6, 2014
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State (5-14, 1-6 Big Ten) came up just short in their upset bid against No. 55 Minnesota (15-5, 5-2 Big Ten) falling 4-3 despite winning the final three matches.
"I knew that if we stayed the course and kept working that we were going to have chances to win the matches," said interim head coach Chris Cagle following the match. "In the Big Ten there is so much parity that most of our matches are going to be 4-3 or 5-2 for the rest of the season either way."
Minnesota used early runs in the No. 2 and 3 doubles matches to take the first lead in the match heading into singles. Paula Rincon Otero and Aria Lambert knocked off Lisa Petruzillo (Muttontown, N.Y.) and Emily Rivers (Washington D.C.) at No. 3 doubles 8-0 to start the match.
Natallia Pintusava and Julia Courter clinched the doubles point for the Golden Gophers with their 8-4 victory over Carmen Sandor (Toronto, Canada) and Taylor Shukow (Boca Raton, Fla.) at No. 2 doubles. The match at No. 1 went unfinished with Katia Blik (Moscow, Russia) and Dasha Sapogova (Minsk, Belarus) leading 5-4 when the match was abandoned.
Minnesota went up by two when Maja Vujic topped Rivers 6-0, 6-0 at No. 6 singles. Lambert increased their lead to three with her 6-0, 6-0 victory at No. 5 singles. Courter secured the match-winning point with her 6-4, 6-0 victory over Shukow at No. 4 singles to put the Golden Gophers up 4-0 in the match.
Sandor got the Nittany Lions on the board with her 6-2, 6-2 victory over Jessika Mozia in the No. 3 match. The win moved her into a tie with Judy Wang (1999-2003) for 12th most in team history with 48.
"It was great to win especially after losing 5-1 last match, so I kind of thought about that when I was up 5-1 this time," said the senior after her match. "I told myself I need to step it up and just stay calm and keep rolling."
Sapogova cut Minnesota's lead in half with a 6-4, 6-1 win against Brichacova at No. 1 singles. The win gives her 12 on the season, tying Devan McCluskey's (Phoenix, Ariz.) total from last spring for the most by a freshman since Lauren McCarthy had 14 in 2007.
Blik came back from a set down to win the final two sets and bring Penn State within one to close out the match. Her 2-6, 6-3, 1-0 (10-5) victory over Pintusava moves her to 4-4 while playing at the No. 2 spot on the season.
The Nittany Lions will close out their home schedule next weekend when Purdue and Indiana come to town. The Nittany Lions will host the Boilermakers on Friday at 3:30 p.m. before they close out their season with Senior Day against Indiana at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday.