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  The Digital Collegian - Published independently by students at Penn State
Sports
[ Thursday, April 29, 1999 ]

Netmen invade Big Ten Championships

By BRAD STRATTON
Collegian Staff Writer

The Penn State men's tennis team found itself on the losing end in nine of 10 Big Ten matches this season. But none of that counts anymore.

The Nittany Lions (11-12, 1-9 Big Ten) begin play in the Big Ten Championship Tournament, a single-elimination tourney, held from today through Sunday in Ann Arbor, Mich. In the first round, the No. 10-seeded Lions will play No. 7 seed Northwestern at 9 a.m. today at the Varsity Tennis Center.

The Lions lost their only contest of the season against Northwestern (9-11, 4-6), dropping a close 4-3 contest to the 39th-ranked Wildcats on April 11 at the Penn State Tennis Center.

"The last match to Northwestern was close," senior Eric Meditz said.

In that match, the Lions lost despite winning the doubles point, as they went on to lose four of six singles matches. Senior Mike Griesser and sophomore Marc McCallister provided the only Penn State wins at singles. Griesser won in straight sets at No. 2 singles, overpowering Northwestern's Martin Bengtsson 6-2, 6-2. McCallister won a hard-fought match at No. 6 singles, defeating Jamie Sahara in three sets (6-4, 4-6, 6-4). Northwestern clinched the victory when the Wildcats' Joost Hol overcame an ankle injury to put away junior Jeffrey Martini at No. 5 singles (6-2, 6-3).

Northwestern has not won a match since losing four straight to the likes of Purdue, Indiana, Michigan State and Michigan.

For the Lions, a key to pulling the upset will be their doubles play. While the No. 1 doubles team of Meditz and junior Marc Dorfman has tallied a 13-13 record, Martini and sophomore Damon Accardi have posted a 20-8 mark at No. 2 doubles, and Griesser and McCallister have built a 19-5 mark at No. 3 doubles.

The Lions have a combined doubles record of 13-17 in conference play.

In singles, the Lions have posted a dismal 17-43 record in Big Ten play, the best performance coming from McCallister (4-5).

Set to face off against Griesser at No. 1 singles for the Wildcats will be senior Doug Bohaboy, the 48th-ranked player in the country. Bohaboy has compiled an 8-2 conference record at No. 1 singles, including a straight-set win against then-No. 1 singles player Dorfman (6-3, 6-2).

Bohaboy teamed up with Bengtsson to post a 17-10 record in doubles play, good enough to warrant a No. 46 ranking in the ITA (Intercollegiate Tennis Association). In the earlier meeting between the two teams, Bohaboy and Bengtsson defeated Meditz and Dorfman 8-4 at No. 1 doubles.

In other first-round matches, No. 8 seed Iowa will face the No. 9 seed Wisconsin and No. 6 seed Michigan State will battle the No. 11 seed Ohio State. The top five seeds all received first-round byes.

If the Lions win today, they will face No. 2 seed Michigan at 9 a.m. tomorrow. The Big Ten championship match will be played at 1 p.m. Sunday.

"We get one good practice in (yesterday)," Meditz said. "We can get used to the courts, and hopefully be ready to go."

The Lions' last visit to the Michigan courts resulted in a 6-1 loss to the Wolverines on April 4.






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