University Park, Pa. — The Penn State men's tennis team heads into the summer ranked 38th in the final set of ITA National Team rankings after notching the program's first modern-day victory in the NCAA Championship. In addition to the national ranking, the Nittany Lions were ranked No. 1 in the Northeast Region.
Head coach Todd Doebler and the Nittany Lions manufactured a stellar list of accolades in his second season at the helm of the program. The Lions finished 16-12 after sweeping 27th-ranked VCU in the first round of the NCAA Championship and then dropping a 4-0 decision to then-No. 1 Virginia in the second round in Charlottesville. In all, the Nittany Lions picked up eight victories against ranked opponents, including a 4-3 triumph against then-21st ranked Alabama at the Blue Gray-Classic. Penn State made its first appearance at the ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Team Championships in February after winning the program's first ECAC Championship in the fall.
"I am proud of all we achieved as a program this season," said head coach Todd Doebler. "All of these rankings and results were a product of hard work by coach Holman and the guys. With the majority of the team returning and a talented recruiting class coming in, we will be looking forward to getting started in the fall."
Penn State also swept the top spot in the individual awards of the ITA Northeast Region. Two-time All-Big Ten standout Michael James (Clifton, Va.) finished his Penn State career ranked No. 1 in the ITA Northeast Region Singles rankings. James tallied a team-high 28 victories in 2007-08. He made his first appearance at the ITA National Indoor Championships and the Polo/Ralph Lauren ITA All-American Championships in the fall. James notched his first career singles title by marching through the draw of the ITA Northeast Regional Championship. James concluded his Penn State career with a 109-38 overall record. He was ranked 59th in the final national singles rankings, and he was named ITA Northeast Region Senior Player of the Year.
James and junior Brendan Lynch (North Potomac, Md.) sealed the Lion sweep in the regional rankings by heading into the summer ranked No. 1 in the Northeast Region's Doubles poll. The duo started the season ranked 13-0 in doubles, and went on to tally a 15-5 overall mark in dual matches. They went 4-2 in matches against ranked teams. James and Lynch finished the season ranked 33rd in the national doubles rankings.
By sweeping the top spot in the team, singles and doubles rankings in the ITA Northeast Region, it marked another program first. Penn State had never previously finished a season ranked No. 1 in the team, singles and doubles rankings in the region. Penn State also notched its share of awards in the region. In addition to James being named Senior Player of the Year, Dan Holman was named Assistant Coach of the Year and Eddie Bourchier (Hobart Australia) was named Rookie Player of the Year.
James was not the only Lion to finish the season ranked in the ITA Northeast region. Junior Adam Slagter (Austin, Texas), Lynch and Bourchier also found their way into the regional rankings. Slagter chalked up an 11-8 mark in duals, which garnered him the No. 5 ranking. Lynch recorded a stout 27-10 overall record, placing him 12th in the regional rankings. Bourchier was ranked 18th. Bourchier and senior James Dwyer (Peachtree City, Ga.) were ranked 15th in the final Northeast Region Doubles rankings.