April 26, 2007
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - The No. 9 seeded Michigan State women's tennis team was eliminated in the first round of the Big Ten Championship by No. 8 seed Penn State, 4-2, Thursday in Minneapolis. The Spartans took an early lead by winning the doubles point and then forced four singles matches into a third set, but three-straight singles victories put the Nittany Lions back in control of the match. Pascale Schnitzer came up with the lone Spartan singles win at No. 2, but a win at No. 5 by Dorothy Dohanic clinched the match in favor of Penn State.
"It was a battle out there today," said MSU head coach Erica Perkins. "It was nice to finally get our doubles back on track after struggling a bit the last few weeks. We really came out hard in singles as well, but Penn State responded well and played the big points just a little better.
"I am very proud of this team, especially the seniors, Pascale and Sarah (Andrews), who have represented Michigan State with such courage and class throughout their careers."
Michigan State opened up with a 1-0 lead, defeating the Nittany Lions in two of three doubles matches. Senior Sarah Andrews and sophomore Stephanie Kebler dropped the first match off the court, 8-3, at No. 1 to Sasha Abraham and Jenny Shular. Spartan junior Christine Bader and freshman Christine Milliken quickly rebounded with a win in MSU's favor at No. 3, an 8-3 victory over Dorothy Dohanics and Leyla Morzan.
At No. 2, Schnitzer and sophomore Ana Milosavljevic sealed the doubles point for MSU, defeating Lauren McCarthy and Andreea Niculescu, 8-6.
Penn State took a 3-1 lead in singles play, with wins at No. 1, No. 6 and No. 3. Niculescu defeated Bader at No. 1, 6-4 in both the first and second sets. At No. 6, Milsovaljevic grabbed the first set 6-3, but fell to McCarthy by the same score in the second, forcing a third set. McCarthy grabbed an early lead, eventually defeating Milosvaljevic, 6-3, to earn the victory. Shular slipped past Kebler at No. 3, winning both sets 7-6. Kebler had an early lead in both sets, but Shular mounted late comebacks winning the first-set tiebreak, 7-4, and the second-set breaker, 7-5.
Schnitzer snapped the Penn State win-streak with a victory at No. 2 over Abraham in three sets. Abraham took the lead with a 6-4 win in the first set, but Schnitzer came from behind to win the second set, 6-3. Schnitzer took the third set, winning by a score of 6-3 to claim the match, and put the team score at 3-2.
Dohanics responded for Penn State, sealing the win at No. 5 over Marianne Eelens with a third-set victory. Eelens cruised through the first set, winning 6-1, but Dohanics rebounded in the second set using an early lead to finish ahead, 6-3. Dohanics picked up where she left off in the third set, winning 6-3.
With the 4-2 advantage, the final match at No. 4 between Lauren Holzberg and Andrews was left unfinished in the third set. Holzberg had won the first set 7-5, but Andrews took the second set 7-6 (6). Before the match was suspended, Holzberg had taken a 3-2 lead.
With the loss, the Spartan finish the season with a 12-12 record (2-8 Big Ten), while Penn State advances its record to 10-12 (3-7 Big Ten). Penn State will move on to face No. 1 seed Northwestern on Friday.