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[ Tuesday, March 2, 1999 ]

Netmen shutout by No. 16 Harvard

Collegian Staff Writer

The Penn State men's tennis team hit a roadblock this past weekend in Harvard, and was outplayed by one of the top teams in the country.

The No. 60 Nittany Lions (5-2, 1-0 Big Ten) lost to No. 16 Harvard 7-0 Sunday at Sportsmen's Tennis Club in Dorchester, Mass. The Lions were outdone in every aspect of the match, losing all six singles matches and two of three doubles tilts.

The Lions' usually dominant No. 1 singles player, Mike Griesser, ran into a brick wall against the country's top-ranked singles player, James Blake, who rolled to a very impressive victory in straight sets (6-0, 6-3).

"When you play such a great player," Griesser said, "it makes you look like you're playing poorly. He puts a lot of pressure on you to hit the great shots."

The Lions' five other singles players didn't find their matches any easier. Junior Marc Dorfman lost his second straight singles match, this time to Harvard's John Doran (6-4, 6-3). Junior Jeffrey Martini lost in straight sets (7-5, 6-1) to Joe Green, as did freshman Jamie Gresh (6-4, 6-1) against William Lee. Senior Eric Meditz came closest to victory, taking Mike Passarella to a tiebreaker in the third set before dropping the match (4-6, 6-4, 7-6). Sophomore Marc McCallister found his way late into the third set before running out of steam against Harvard's Cillie Swart (6-2, 3-6, 7-5).

"We battled a lot," Penn State coach Jan Bortner said. "Especially in the first set. Meditz could of won easily with a couple points. Martini was up 5-4 in the first set, serving for the set. We put ourselves in position for a chance to win. The score wasn't indicative of the closeness of the match."

"It was a disappointing loss," Griesser said. "But there were also positive aspects. McCallister had a tough match, and Meditz in No. 3 singles played a tight match."

Harvard netted the important first point of the match, winning two of three doubles matches. In No. 1 doubles, the No. 44 team of Dorfman and Meditz lost 8-6 to the second-ranked team of Blake and Kunj Majmudar. In No. 3 doubles, the Crimson's Doran and Swart beat the Lions' Griesser and McCallister, 8-5.

The sole bright spot for the Lions was a victory at No. 2 doubles by sophomore Damon Accardi and Martini. The duo won 8-6 over the No. 19 doubles team of Passarella and Scott Clark.

"We learned a lot against Harvard," Bortner said. "We have some things to work on this week in practice, but there were more positives than negatives."

The Lions take a week off before traveling to Florida for spring break and matches against Florida International and Florida Atlantic. The Lions then hope to move outside to the Sarni Tennis Center when they return home for matches against Eastern Michigan and St. Francis (Pa.) on March 14.

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Updated: Tuesday, March 02, 1999  12:22:52 AM  -4
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Created: Wednesday, May 07, 2008  6:26:10 PM  -4