Barry named Big Ten Men's Tennis Athlete of the Week

March 06, 2015

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Junior Matt Barry (Lido Beach, N.Y.) was named Big Ten Athlete of the Week on Tuesday. Barry claimed the honor after winning both of his singles matches last weekend, including a three-set victory at No. 3 against that tied the match at 3-3 in the Penn State men's tennis team's win over No. 23 Princeton. He also won his doubles match against the Tigers.

Matt Barry is the first Nittany Lion to be honored as Big Ten Athlete of the Week this season and it is the first time Barry has won the award. Junior Leonard Stakhovsky (Kiev, Ukraine) was honored three times last year, with the most recent award coming on April 1, 2014.

Barry is 7-3 this spring and 11-6 overall in singles. He is also 5-4 in doubles in dual matches and 8-6 overall.

On Friday against No. 8 Ohio State, Barry took on Herkko Pollanen, ranked 78th, at the No. 3 spot. In the first set, Barry was up 5-4 when he got a break to win the set, 6-4. In the second set, Barry led 5-3, but Pollanen fought back to force a tiebreaker. However, Barry bounced back to win the tiebreaker, 7-5, to win the set and the match. The win was Barry's 60th of his career and his first this year over a ranked opponent.

On Saturday, Barry met the Tigers' Joshua Yablon at No. 3. The junior rallied from down 5-3 in the opening set to force a tiebreaker, but dropped a tight tiebreaker, 9-7. Barry responded by winning the second set, 6-4. In the deciding set, Barry jumped out to a 5-3 lead, but Yablon won the next three points to take a 6-5 lead. Barry again forced a tiebreaker. Barry held a 4-2 advantage in the tiebreaker, but Yablon tied it back up at 6-6. With his team needing a win to stay in the match, Barry won the next two games to clinch the set and match.

The win tied the overall team score up at 3-3, before sophomore Aws Laaribi (Rye, N.Y.) earned a three-set victory to clinch the match point.

Barry also paired up with sophomore Christian Lutschaunig (Richboro, Pa.) for a win at No. 3 doubles against Yablon and Alexander Day. The duo fought back from a 3-2 deficit to win the match 8-5.

The Nittany Lions, led by Head Coach Jeff Zinn and Assistant Coach Paul Tobin, are 5-7 and ranked 41st in this week's ITA Poll, also released Tuesday. The blue and white dropped two spots, despite their win against the Tigers, their third this year over a Top 25 opponent.

"Congratulations to Matt on being named Big Ten Athlete of the Week," said Tobin. "What an accomplishment and testament to his outstanding commitment to being the best he can be. Very proud of Matt."

Penn State travels to Richmond, Va. this Saturday to face VCU at 11 a.m. The Rams dropped out of the ITA Poll this week, but are 11-4 this spring.

After Saturday's match, the blue and white will head to Tampa, Fla. for the University of South Florida Tournament, with matches on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Last Updated March 06, 2015