April 11, 2014
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The No. 36 Purdue men's tennis team made history Friday with its 6-1 upset of 16th-ranked Penn State outdoors at the Schwartz Tennis Center. As the Boilermakers pushed their record to 15-3, 7-1 Big Ten, they also took down the highest ranked opponent in program history. The 5-2 upending of No. 17 Vanderbilt on Feb. 26, 2005, had stood as the highest ranked team Purdue had beat prior to Friday. The Nittany Lions had their eight-match winning streak snapped and moved to 19-3, 6-2 Big Ten.
The victory is also significant to the Big Ten standings. Purdue surpasses Penn State to take over at No. 2 with conference-leading and top-ranked Ohio State up next on the docket for the Boilermakers. The Buckeyes, who are 8-0 in league play, will face off against a red hot Purdue team at the Schwartz Tennis Center Sunday at 12 p.m. ET in the Boilermakers' final and biggest home match of the season.
"I am really happy for our seniors," Purdue head men's tennis coach Pawel Gajdzik said. "We recruited them with a vision and they bought into that vision. They have improved all four years and now seeing them taking on the leadership role, it's gratifying. We have set high standards, we have a vision and all of these guys are committed. I am proud of the way we played today."
All three doubles matches were a grind it out, back and forth battle, which set the tone for the entire contest. Going up against nationally ranked opponents, Purdue's Nos. 1 and 2 duos provided upset victories to secure the critical point for the Boilermakers. First at No. 1, Szymon Tatarczyk and Ricky Medinilla took down their second ranked team in as many faced this season as the 74th-ranked duo downed No. 30 Russell Bader and Leonard Stakhovsky, 8-5. The senior/freshman team pushed their mark to 8-1 with the win.
Purdue's Aaron Dujovne and Diego Acosta followed by dealing the No. 54 Nittany Lion duo of Chris Young and Michael Reilly an 8-6 setback at the No. 2 position. The senior/junior tandem notched their second win over a ranked team and they improved to 7-6 while playing side by side.
"Getting the doubles point got us out on a good note," Gajdzik said. "They [Penn State] have been successful at doubles this year, but we played at a high level and getting that point put us in the driver's seat."
Penn State entered the match having won the doubles point in 19 of its 21 matches played. It was the 13th time the Boilermakers captured the point and if past matches have proven one thing, it's that Purdue is unbeatable when they take the best of three doubles series.
True to form, Mateus Silva rolled in the No. 6 spot, using a 6-0, 6-1 decision to defeat David Kohan for his 14th consecutive victory. His 13th straight-set win gave the Boilermakers a 2-0 lead. The sophomore's 15 wins are a team best.
Penn State's No. 33 Leonard Stakhovsky took the No. 1 singles match over Tatarczyk in the breaker, 6-1, 7-6 (7-5), to give the Nittany Lions their only point. Playing at No. 5, Acosta responded and put the Boilermakers ahead 3-1 with a straight-set victory against Roman Trkulja, 7-5, 7-5. The junior improved to 12-4 overall and 5-3 in the Big Ten with his third straight win.
Needing just one more point to clinch the historic upset, it was the rookie who delivered. After falling in the opening set 7-5 to Bader in the No. 2 spot, Medinilla bounced back in dominating fashion. The Mexico City, Mexico, native took the second set, 6-3, and the decisive set, 6-2, to earn the fourth team point. He owns a 9-7 mark in his first season with the Old Gold and Black.
Purdue continued to add to its lead with two more three-set wins. At No. 4, Dujovne pushed his senior season record to 12-2 by defeating Matt Barry, 6-3, 3-6, 6-0. Fellow senior Mark Kovacs took the final two sets from Penn State's Alex Fennell after losing the first, 4-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-1. Kovacs moved to 14-3 with the come-from-behind win.
"Even though we lost the opening set in a few matches, I knew that if we could find the momentum to get to a third set, we'd be fine because of our level of conditioning," Gajdzik. All of the hard work our guys have put in throughout the fall and now in the spring is really paying off. They are tough."
No. 36 Purdue 6, No. 16 Penn State 1 | Box Score
1: No. 74 Ricky Medinilla/Szymon Tatarczyk (Purdue) def. No. 30 Russell Bader/Leonard Stakhovsky (Penn State), 8-5
2: Aaron Dujovne/Diego Acosta (Purdue) def. No. 54 Chris Young/Michael Reilly (Penn State), 8-6
3: Matt Barry/Roman Trkulja (Penn State) vs. Mark Kovacs/Mateus Silva (Purdue), 7-6 DNF
1: No. 33 Leonard Stakhovsky (Penn State) def. Szymon Tatarczyk (Purdue), 6-1, 7-6 (7-5)
2: Ricky Medinilla (Purdue) def. Russell Bader (Penn State), 5-7, 6-3, 6-2
3: Mark Kovacs (Purdue) def. Alex Fennell (Penn State), 4-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-1
4: Aaron Dujovne (Purdue) def. Matt Barry (Penn State), 6-3, 3-6, 6-0
5: Diego Acosta (Purdue) def. Roman Trkulja (Penn State), 7-5, 7-5
6: Mateus Silva (Purdue) def. David Kohan (Penn State), 6-0, 6-1