Critical Week Ahead for No. 36 Men's Tennis

PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM Mateus Silva
PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM
Mateus Silva
PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM

April 8, 2014

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - In what will be a critical week for the 2014 Purdue men's tennis season and place in program history, the 36th-ranked Boilermakers will host a trio of Big Ten opponents at the Schwartz Tennis Center, starting with No. 69 Indiana Wednesday at 1 p.m. ET. They will then take on No. 16 Penn State Friday at 1 p.m. and top-ranked Ohio State at 12 p.m. on Sunday. Live scoring for all three matches will be available here.

At 12-3 overall and 5-1 in the Big Ten, Purdue currently sits in third place in the conference standings. Ohio State is first (23-2, 8-0 Big Ten) and is followed by Penn State (19-2, 6-1 Big Ten). The Nittany Lions' only blemish on their Big Ten record was a 5-2 loss to the Buckeyes on March 2. Penn State's record will not alter prior to Friday's match, while Ohio State is schedule to play at No. 14 Kentucky Wednesday and will host No. 39 Tulsa on Friday.

The last time that Purdue has five or more wins in the Big Ten was 2004, finishing with a record of 5-5. The program has never finished conference play undefeated or with just one loss and 1997 is the only season the Boilermakers finished with two losses.

Purdue embarks upon the challenging week as winners of its last six matches, including a trio of shutouts and five wins over ranked foes. A balanced attack, led by strong doubles play to jump out early, has been key for the Boilermakers in 2014. They are a combined 24-12 in doubles, guided by a 7-0 mark from senior Szymon Tatarczyk and freshman Ricky Medinilla. The senior/freshman tandem made their debut on the Intercollegiate Tennis Association's national doubles rankings released Tuesday at No. 74. The duo of senior Mark Kovacs and sophomore Mateus Silva has played to a 7-3 record. Purdue is undefeated at 12-0 when they claim the doubles point and 1-3 when it is lost.

The singles lineup boasts four individuals that have 10 or more wins, led by Silva with 13. The sophomore has delivered solid play with all but three matches at the No. 6 spot. At 13-1, he has won 12 consecutive matches, 10 of which have been in straight sets. Purdue's production at Nos. 3-6 has resulted in a combined record of 44-12.

Indiana enters Wednesday's match with a record of 13-13, 2-5 Big Ten. The up and down Hoosiers split their road contests last weekend, dropping a 6-1 match at No. 66 Nebraska, followed by a 4-3 win over Iowa. They boast one nationally ranked player in No. 103 Sam Monette. The sophomore and doubles partner Daniel Bednarczyk are listed 65th.

The Boilermakers have lost eight straight dual matches to their in-state rival dating back to 2007. Their last win in the series was Feb. 26, 2006, when they defeated Indiana, 5-2.

Penn State is riding an eight-match winning streak dating back to March 13. The Nittany Lions' 19 wins matches the program's best win total set in 1984 and five of their nine wins over nationally ranked opponents have occurred while playing on the road. In 21 matches played, they have only lost the doubles point twice. Leonard Stakhovsky is the lone ranked Penn State player, checking in at No. 33. Stakhovsky paired with Russell Bader are 30th in doubles and Michael Reilly and Chris Young are listed at No. 54.

Purdue holds a one-match advantage in the all-time series against Penn State, 15-14. The Boilermakers have been victorious in the last three meetings, outscoring the Nittany Lions 17-4. Penn State's last win in the series was a 6-1 decision on its home courts on March 7, 2010.

To say Ohio State has had a stranglehold on the Big Ten would be an understatement. Since 2005, the Buckeyes have won 90 consecutive Big Ten regular season matches. Additionally, they have won eight straight Big Ten regular season titles and have won the conference tournament title seven of the last eight seasons.

Ohio State takes a six-match winning streak into its dual at Kentucky. As their only losses on the season, the Buckeyes dropped back-to-back matches as the top-ranked squad was upended by then-No. 4 Oklahoma, 4-1, on March 7, followed by a 4-3 loss at then-No. 16 Georgia on March 12. They sport four ranked singles players in No. 9 Peter Kobelt, No. 74 Kerkko Pollanen, No. 109 Hunter Callahan and No. 124 Kevin Metka. Teamed together, Kobelt and Metka is the nation's second-ranked doubles tandem.

Dominance throughout the Big Ten is also reflected in the all-time series with Purdue. Dating back to 2000, the Buckeyes have taken 15 dual matches from the Boilermakers. Prior to the loss in 2000, the Boilermakers had won five straight in the series.