April 14, 2007
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan State men's tennis team shocked the visiting 37th-ranked Penn State team, 4-3, for the Spartans' second consecutive Big Ten match win. The Green and White improved to 11-13, 2-6 Big Ten, in its last home match of the season. Meanwhile, Penn State dropped to 15-4, 5-4 in the Big Ten.
Falling behind early, the Spartans rebounded to get the win, a victory that erased a six-year losing streak against the Nittany Lions, dating back to 2001.
The win against Penn State was the first since 2001, when the Spartans beat the Nittany Lions at home, 4-3.
"We recorded two Big Ten wins in a row," head coach Gene Orlando said. "Our team had some tough luck in the beginning of the season, but we were able to come back and beat the third-place team in the Big Ten and the 37th-ranked team in the country. It is a big win for us. We were down big, but we were able to fight back and get the win."
The Spartans won the doubles point for the second consecutive match to put the first point on the board.
The No. 24 team of Adam Monich and Nick Rinks teamed up again to easily slide by the No. 41 team of Ryan Berger and Michael James, 8-3, on the first court. The Spartan duo improved to 9-4 in dual season play and 4-1 in Big Ten matches.
Following the doubles point win, Michigan State dropped the next three matches, placing Penn State up 3-1.
Ryan Gormley defeated the Spartans' Jason Norville, 6-0, 6-0 on court No. 5; the Nittany Lions' No. 3 player, Berger, was up, 5-4, over Monich, but had to retire the match when Monich dislocated his ankle; and State's Scott Rasmussen fell to Hunter on court six, 6-2, 6-1.
On court No. 1, 59th-ranked Rinks dropped his first set in a tiebreaker, 6-7 (3), to James. The Spartans were in desperate need of a win from their No. 1 man, Rinks continued to win the next two sets, 6-2, 6-4, for the comeback victory and his sixth Big Ten win of the season.
"Nick (Rinks) was on the side of Monich when he hurt himself and I'm sure it was a distraction," Orlando said. "He could have thrown the match, but he stuck with it and gutted it out. He was a leader on the court and it gave us the momentum for the win."
Only down 3-2, Forger won the first set, 6-4, over Slagter on the No. 2 court. State dropped the next set, 3-6, but came back for the crucial third-set win, 6-3. With the win Forger has strung together two consecutive Big Ten wins and is 16-11 in the spring season and 3-5 in Big Ten play.
Tied at 3-all, the win came down to the fourth court of Allare and Lynch. Like his teammate Rinks, Allare dropped his first set, 3-6. With the win on the line and his team looking on, Allare rallied back to win two consecutive two sets, 7-6 (6-3), 6-3. The match win is Allare's second straight win since his loss to Devin Mullings of Ohio State.
"John (Allare) was down a break in the second, but fought back hard to get it even" Orlando said. "He snuck out with the tiebreaker to tie it at 1-all and was able to pull out the win. I am very proud of him."
Michigan State hits the road for two more Big Ten duals next weekend. Michigan State will travel to Wisconsin on Saturday, April 21 and then travel to Northwestern on Sunday, April 22. Both matches are scheduled for a noon start.