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April 10, 2012
University Park, Pa. - The Penn State women's tennis team (11-7, 3-4) continued its almost season-long stay in the ITA Poll, released Tuesday. The Nittany Lions came in at No. 52 this week, after splitting two matches this past weekend against then No. 33 Minnesota and Wisconsin. Petra Januskova (Ottawa, Canada) maintained her position in the singles poll, garnering a No. 74 ranking. Additionally, Januskova and her partner, Chelsea Utting(Peachtree City, Ga.) broke into the doubles ranking for the first time, coming in at No. 84.
This marks the ninth straight week Penn State has earned a ranking in the Top 75. Prior to this season, the Nittany Lions had not broken into the poll since 2008, when they came in at No. 75 during the week of Feb. 22, 2008.
The Nittany Lions have defeated four ranked opponents this season: then No. 57 Ohio State, No. 40 VCU, No. 65 Marshall and No. 27 Purdue. In previous weeks Penn State has held rankings of No. 47, No. 46, No. 59, No. 61, No. 53 and No. 54.
Including the Nittany Lions, nine of the 12 schools in the highly competitive Big Ten were also ranked. Penn State joins eight other Big Ten schools in the poll, including No. 11 Northwestern, No. 14 Michigan, No. 17 Nebraska, No. 23 Illinois, No. 31 Minnesota, No. 34 Purdue, No. 47 Indiana and No. 61 Ohio State. In total, 12 of Penn State's 22 opponents this season were ranked in this week's poll.
In addition to Penn State's team success, Januskova has been dominant in No. 1 singles play this season. The junior has compiled a 15-3 record this spring. Januskova has beaten two ranked opponents (then No. 14 Diana Nakic of No. 6 Baylor and No. 111 Kim Berghaus of UMBC) and six opponents from ranked teams. In the 15 matches she has won this season, she has only lost one set the entire year. During the week of Jan. 10, Januskova was named Big Ten Athlete of the Week, becoming just the third Nittany Lion in program history to earn that honor.
It was only a matter of time before Januskova and Utting got the recognition they deserved in the No. 1 doubles slot for Penn State. Since teaming up in the middle for February, the duo has tallied a 9-4 record, including a victory over then No. 40 Madeleine Geibert and Stefanie Weinstein of No. 18 Nebraska. Additionally, the pair has earned four wins over tandems from ranked opponents.
The Nittany Lions are coming off a morale victory in which they defeated Wisconsin, 4-3, in an extremely hard-fought match. Penn State come out strong, winning the doubles point thanks to victories from the duos of Januskova/Utting and Nina Sertic (Zagrab, Croatia) / Fernanda Perrotta(Buenos Aires, Argentina). The Nittany Lions also tallied points thanks to singles wins from Januskova, Utting and Sertic.
Next up, Penn State will head to Illinois to take on No. 11 Northwestern on Sat., April 14 at 11 a.m. and No. 23 Illinois on Sun., April 15, also at 11 a.m. Following that trip, the Nittany Lions will return home for their last match in Happy Valley, when they host No. 14 Michigan on Fri., April 20 at 3 p.m. Penn State will close out regular season play, when it travels to Michigan State on Sun., April 22 at 11 a.m.
All of the Nittany Lion's home matches can be followed through the link for live stats at http://www.gopsusports.com/livestats/c-tennis/xlive.htm. Make sure to "like" the Penn State Women's Tennis page on Facebook and follow @PSUWomensTennis on Twitter!
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