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  The Digital Collegian - Published independently by students at Penn State
[ Thursday, April 8, 1999 ]

Netmen break from slump against Duquesne

Collegian Staff Writer

Three days after losing its fourth straight match, the Penn State men's tennis team rebounded with an impressive shutout victory against Duquesne.

The No. 70 Nittany Lions (10-7, 1-4 Big Ten) broke out of their slump yesterday afternoon with a 7-0 win against the Dukes at the Sarni Tennis Center. The win improved the Lions' non-conference record to 9-3 and kept them undefeated at home this season in non-conference play.

The Lions mixed up their lineup, giving senior Eric Meditz and freshman Jamie Gresh a needed break.

"Matches like this are about getting guys like (sophomore Matthew) Nielsen and (sophomore Damon) Accardi experience," Penn State coach Jan Bortner said. "The backup guys get valuable experience, so they can pop in later if a guy goes down."

For a change of pace, singles play preceded the doubles. In the end, it didn't matter, as the Lions won all six singles matches, and all three doubles matches.

Showcasing at centre court was Nielsen at No. 6 singles. Nielsen showed poise and precision as he took apart Duquesne's Chin Kampanatsanyakorn (6-2, 6-0).

"I played pretty solid," Nielsen said. "I served well, and didn't have a lot of unforced errors."

Adding fuel to the fire for a possible changing of the guard at No. 1 singles, junior Marc Dorfman out-hustled the Dukes' Garth Levin (6-3, 6-2). Dorfman has played three straight matches at No. 1, while senior Mike Griesser has played at No. 2 singles. Griesser made a case for himself with a straight set victory (6-1, 6-3) over Jason Mayer.

Griesser played the part of a pessimist.

"I wasn't great," he said, "but I wasn't bad."

The Lions won the other three singles matches, all in straight sets. Providing offense for the Lions were junior Jeffrey Martini, and sophomores Marc McCallister and Accardi, at No. 3, 4 and 5 singles, respectively. Martini dominated Duquesne's Vicente Arias (6-0, 6-3), McCallister beat Miguel Echenique (6-3, 7-5), and Accardi emerged victorious (7-5, 6-2) against Dan Somers.

"(Arias) didn't have any power," Martini said. "I served well, and didn't give him any chances."

Despite already clinching victory, the Lions didn't let up once doubles play began. Both No. 1 (Griesser/McCallister) and No. 3 (Dorfman/Nielsen) won by 8-5 scores, while the team of Accardi and Martini knocked out the Dukes' Arias and Somers, 8-1.

Despite the shutout, Bortner wasn't thrilled.

"There were pluses and minuses," Bortner said. "One of the big disappointments were the guys couldn't put serves in the box. If you're committing two or three double faults a game, it's like a turnover. You're not gonna beat the big teams this way."

Said Bortner: "The veteran guys don't have the spunk I'm looking for. I'd like to see them show more spirit."

The Lions will now prepare for their biggest test of the year, hosting No. 2 Illinois at 6:30 p.m. Friday.

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