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Nittany Lions To Face No. 48 Indiana in First Round of Big Ten Tournament

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Katherine Whiteaway

April 23, 2014

2014 Big Ten Tournament Bracket | Big Ten Tournament Central | Live Scoring

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State women's tennis (6-17, 2-9 Big Ten) heads to Evanston, Ill. as the tournament 10-seed where they'll face the seventh-seeded, No. 48 Indiana Hoosiers (18-8, 6-5 Big Ten) in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament. The match is scheduled for 2 p.m. CT at the Vandy Christie Tennis Center on the campus of Northwestern.

Michigan clinched their fifth consecutive Big Ten Championship with wins over Indiana and Purdue last weekend earning the tournament's top seed. Northwestern will be the 2-seed with their only loss in Big Ten play coming on the road in Ann Arbor against Michigan where they lost 4-3.

Ohio State and Purdue round out the top four seeds that will all have first round byes. The Fighting Illini earned the 5-seed in a three-team tiebreaker with the sixth-seed Minnesota Gophers and 7-seed Hoosiers. Michigan State finished 5-6 in the Big Ten giving them the eighth-seed while Iowa earns the 9-seed with their win against the Nittany Lions on Sunday.

The Nittany Lions earned the tournament's 10-seed after knocking off Wisconsin and Nebraska who are the final two seeds respectively. The top eight seeds in this year's tournament are currently ranked in the ITA Team Poll. The Nittany Lions are looking for their first win in the Big Ten Tournament since 2007 when they knocked off Michigan State 4-2.

The Nittany Lions defeated Nebraska for the first time in program history having lost the previous three matchups. The win over the Huskers also proved to be Penn State's first win on the road this season. After falling behind 3-0 when Nebraska clinched the doubles point and won the first two singles matches on courts four and six, the Nittany Lions rallied to take the final four matches and clinch the victory.

Katherine Whiteaway (Sawbridgeworth, England) and Katia Blik (Moscow, Russia) earned straight sets victories over their opponents to pull the Nittany Lions within one. Carmen Sandor (Toronto, Canada) tied the match at three, winning the final two sets over Mary Hanna at No. 3 singles to send the deciding point to the No. 1 match between Dasha Sapogova (Minsk, Belarus) and Maggy Lehmicke. After winning the first set, Sapogova fell in the second set forcing the two to play a third. In the final set Sapogova clinched the 4-3 victory taking the set, 6-3.



On Sunday the Nittany Lions faced Iowa with the 9-seed in the Big Ten Tournament on the line. The Hawkeyes took an early lead and never looked back taking the first and last three points with Blik earning a win at the No. 2 singles position giving the Nittany Lions their only point in the 6-1 defeat.

The Hoosiers lost the three-team tiebreaker with Illinois and Minnesota moving them from as high as a fifth seed to the seventh-seed. All of Indiana's losses have come to teams ranked nationally in the ITA Team Poll. Overshadowed by their impressive overall record, the Hoosiers have lost four of their nine matches away from home this season despite losing only four of their sixteen matches played in Bloomington. The Hoosiers are, however, 1-0 in matches played at a neutral location this season. 

All ten Hoosier players have records better than .500 with Sophie Garr leading the way with an 19-3 mark in the spring and a 28-5 record overall during her senior year. Four Hoosiers have already reached the 20-win mark this year including Katie Klyczek who has posted a 12-9 record to lead the Hoosiers playing at No. 1 singles. Carolyn Chipa and Alecia Kauss are the other Hoosiers who have eclipsed the 20-win mark this season. In doubles Chupa and Klyczek lead the Hoosiers with a 14-6 record together playing in the top spot.

The Hoosiers spoiled Penn State's senior day when they met two weekends ago. In the match Indiana won all three doubles matches and took five of the six matches in singles. Sapogova earned the lone point for Penn State in the 6-1 defeat, knocking off Katie Klyczek in comeback fashion after dropping the first set and falling behind 5-0 in the second.

Indiana holds a 25-4 lead in the all-time series after falling in their regular season meeting. However, the Nittany Lions earned their first win over the Hoosiers in a decade last season when they returned from Bloomington with a 4-3 victory. In only her second match back, Marie-Frederique Bedard (Montreal, Canada) defeated Shannon Murdy to tie the match 3-3 and send it to the No. 1 singles match where Petra Januskova (Ottawa, Canada) sealed the deal with a 6-7, 6-4, 7-6 (7-5) win over Leslie Hureau.

The last time these two team met in the postseason, Indiana earned a 4-0 win over the Nittany Lions in the first round of the 2011 Big Ten Tournament in Ann Arbor, Michigan.


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