No. 50 men's tennis visits No. 3 Illinois, No. 19 Northwestern

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The No. 50 Penn State men's tennis team travels to Illinois this weekend for two Big Ten challenges on the road. On Friday, the Nittany Lions take on No. 3 Illinois at 4 p.m. On Sunday, Penn State meets No. 19 Northwestern at noon. The Nittany Lions are 9-10 overall and 1-2 in the conference play this spring.

Last weekend, Penn State, led by Head Coach Jeff Zinn and Assistant Coach Paul Tobin, went 2-1 this past weekend. The Nittany Lions dropped a tight match, 4-3, at Michigan State on Friday, but bounced back on Sunday for a 4-1 win against Michigan and a 7-0 victory over Wagner.

Sophomore Alex Fennell (Bala Cynwyd, Pa.) led the way this weekend with three wins at the top singles spot, winning all three in straight sets. Fennell knocked off Michigan State's Gijs Linders, ranked 123rd in the ITA Poll, on Friday as well as Michigan's Alex Petrone and Wagner's Michal Rolski on Sunday.

Senior Tomas Hanzlik (Prague, Czech Republic), sophomore Aws Laaribi (Rye, N.Y.) and junior Roman Trkulja (Toronto, Canada) all earned two wins.

Penn State won the doubles point against the Wolverines and Seahawks, getting victories at No. 1 and No. 3. Against Michigan, Laaribi and junior Leonard Stakhovsky (Kiev, Ukraine) picked up a win at the top spot, while junior Matt Barry (Lido Beach, N.Y.) and sophomore Christian Lutschaunig (Richboro, Pa.) claimed the win at No. 3.

Barry leads the team with 10 singles wins this spring, while Hanzlik has nine and Fennell has eight. Laaribi has seven victories.

Laaribi and Stakhovsky are 7-5 this spring at the top doubles position.

The Fighting Illini enter this weekend with a 15-3 overall record and a 3-0 mark in the Big Ten. Illinois has seven wins this season over ranked opponents. The Illini were off last weekend after playing three matches in Texas as they defeated No. 8 Texas, 4-2, and No. 9 Texas A&M, 4-2, but fell 4-0 to No. 17 TCU.

Five Illini are ranked in the ITA Singles Poll. Jared Hiltzik, 13-1 this spring, is ranked 22nd, while Tim Kopinski, 12-3 in dual matches, in ranked 42nd. Aleks Vukic in ranked 50th with a mark of 11-1 this spring, including nine consecutive victories.

Freshman Aron Hiltzik is 10-3 in dual matches, including eight straight wins, and ranked 52nd. Farris Gosea rounds out the rankings at 64th with a 5-4 mark.

Kopinski and Ross Guignon are 11th in the doubles poll. They are 5-6 this spring, but have four wins this year over ranked opponents.

The Wildcats are 12-6 this spring, including 2-1 in the Big Ten. On Wednesday, they lost 4-1 at Rice. They also play No. 11 Ohio State on Friday.

Sophomore Sam Shropshire is 11-7 at the top singles spot with a pair of wins against ranked opponents. He is ranked 92nd in the nation.

Fellow sophomore Strong Kirchheimer is ranked 124th with a 13-4 mark and three wins against ranked opponents.

In doubles, Shropshire and Alex Pasarneau are ranked 69th with a record of 7-5.

Last Updated March 26, 2015