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[ Monday, March 15, 1999 ]

No. 69 netmen pump out two wins during break, face cancellation against St. Francis

Collegian Staff Writer

The Penn State men's tennis team spent a week in Florida, adjusting to the beautiful weather. It was welcomed back to Happy Valley by a snowstorm that canceled one of its two matches.

The No. 69 Nittany Lions (7-3, 1-0 Big Ten) split its two spring trip matches in Florida, losing 5-2 to No. 71 Florida International on March 9 before salvaging the trip with a 4-3 come-from-behind victory against Florida Atlantic on the 11th.

The Lions returned home and started off a five-match homestand yesterday by recording their first shutout of the year, a 7-0 victory against Eastern Michigan at the Penn State Tennis Club. The Lions' second match of the day, versus St. Francis (Pa.), was canceled due to snow.

The Lions were overpowered by Florida International, losing four of six singles matches and two of three doubles. Freshman Jamie Gresh and sophomore Marc McCallister provided the singles' victories, with Gresh beating out Gustavo Oribe (7-5, 6-2) in No. 5 singles and McCallister knocking off Luis Rodriguez (6-4, 6-3) in No. 6 singles. In doubles, the team of McCallister and senior Mike Griesser won 8-6 against the opposing team of Oribe and Rodriguez.

"It was a bad match all around," Griesser said. "It was a bad day, no one played their best. We came in expecting to win, and to come out with a loss was very disappointing."

Three days later in Boca Raton, the Lions found themselves down 3-1 to Florida Atlantic. But victories by Griesser, Gresh, and McCallister at No. 1, 5 and 6 singles, respectively, completed the comeback and sealed the win. Griesser won (6-2, 4-6, 6-4) against Daniel Dauber, McCallister beat Itay Shimony (6-3, 7-5), and Gresh won (6-4, 6-7, 6-1) against Ben Cooper to clinch the victory.

"Our goal for this spring trip was to get in some quality practice time, and we got some valuable experience outdoors," Penn State coach Jan Bortner said. "Gresh clinched the Florida Atlantic match, and that gave him confidence."

Gresh's performance may have given confidence to the entire team, as it responded by shutting out Eastern Michigan yesterday. The Lions started off the day by sweeping the three doubles matches. The No. 1 doubles team of sophomore Damon Accardi and junior Jeffrey Martini beat the Eagles' Jason Yue and Rob Harrigan, 8-2. The No. 2 team of McCallister and Griesser won 8-3 against Jake Stricker and Nate Mountain, and freshman Chris DeStefano and senior Eric Meditz won 8-3 against the opposing team of Hunter Stenzel and Chris Erikson.

In singles, the Lions dominated their opponents, sweeping all six matches while winning 60 more games than the Eagles. Griesser, Meditz, Martini, Gresh, McCallister and DeStefano all won at No. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 matches, respectively. Griesser improved his personal record to 13-9 this season in No. 1 singles, with an impressive victory (6-1, 6-1) against Yue.

"I played good," Griesser said. "I don't feel like king of the world, but I'm not disappointed."

Bortner felt good about his team's performance.

"The guys did a solid job," Bortner said. "McCallister's knocking the heck out of the ball, and Griesser's getting to the net a lot. But our short game needs to improve."

On a down note, junior Marc Dorfman has now dropped four straight singles matches, losing to Florida International's Jamie Fillol (7-6, 7-5) and Florida Atlantic's Doug Deuriendt (6-4, 6-0). He did not play against Eastern Michigan.

"Dorfman's struggling with his style of play," Bortner said. "He's too much in counter-punch mode. He has to be more aggressive. At No. 1 or 2 singles, if your game is off a little, you're gonna lose."

The last evening's match against St. Francis of Pa. was canceled due to an increasing accumulation of snow. The match may be made up at a later date.

The Lions return to action next weekend, hosting St. Bonaventure at 2 p.m. Sunday at either the indoor confines of the Penn State Tennis Center or outdoors at Sarni Tennis Center, depending on the weather.

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Updated: Monday, March 15, 1999  12:07:44 AM  -4
Requested: Saturday, August 30, 2008  12:26:02 PM  -4
Created: Wednesday, May 07, 2008  6:26:13 PM  -4