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Sports
[ Wednesday, April 7, 1999 ]

Netmen eager to rebound vs. Dukes

By BRAD STRATTON
Collegian Staff Writer

Losers of four straight matches, the Penn State men's tennis team will try to rebound in a rare Wednesday-afternoon match.

The No. 70 Nittany Lions (9-7, 1-4 Big Ten) will break from their brutal in-conference schedule as they host non-conference foe Duquesne at 3:30 p.m. today at Sarni Tennis Center, weather permitting.

The Lions hope to build some momentum before their match this Friday against the No. 2 team in the nation -- Illinois.

"(Duquesne) isn't as good as our Big Ten competition," junior Marc Dorfman said. "You can work on your game a little bit, and maybe it's a little bit of a confidence builder."

Less than two weeks ago, the Lions were on top of their game. The team was riding the heels of a four-match winning streak, including three-straight shutout victories. It had already won its first Big Ten match -- defeating Ohio State -- to equal its Big Ten victory total from last season. After running roughshod through their non-conference schedule, it was time for the Lions to dominate equally in the tough Big Ten.

Then reality sank in.

Since then, the Lions have dropped four-straight matches, losing to Purdue and Indiana on their home court and getting dominated by Michigan State and Michigan on the road last weekend. The losses dropped the Lions to ninth place in the conference.

Duquesne (12-8, 4-2 Atlantic 10) has played consistently this season, winning three of its last four before yesterday's match against St. Bonaventure. The Dukes have a potent lineup, which includes Garth Levin and Jason Mayer, their No. 1 and 2 singles players, respectively, and Puerto Rico native Miguel Echenique.

The Lions return home after an upsetting weekend in Michigan. Against Michigan State Saturday, Penn State lost 5-2, dropping all but one of its six singles matches, including a heart-breaking tiebreaker loss by senior Mike Griesser at No. 2 singles (6-2, 1-6, 7-6). The sole singles win by the Lions came at No. 6 singles as sophomore Damon Accardi battled the Spartans' Todd Kosta into the third set before Kosta forfeited due to a bad case of cramps.

In Ann Arbor, Mich. last Sunday, Michigan outplayed the Lions in all phases of the game for a 6-1 victory. The Wolverines won the doubles point by winning in No. 1 and 2 doubles, then won five of six singles matches. Junior Jeffrey Martini provided the only win for the Lions with a come-from-behind victory (4-6, 6-4, 6-3) in three sets over Michigan's Danny McCain at No. 4 singles.

"If we are able to get a win (against Duquesne)," senior Eric Meditz said, "it will give us momentum for the weekend matches."

Notes: If the weather isn't satisfactory, the match will be moved indoors to the Penn State Tennis Center.





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Updated: 2003-9-23  0:45:07   -4
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Created: 1999-4-6  22:41:43   -4