April 19, 2009
UNIVERSITY PARK, PA. -- Northwestern (18-7, 6-4) emerged with a 5-2 win over Penn State (13-12, 4-6) Sunday afternoon to complete its conference slate with a win and secure a bye in the first round of the upcoming Big Ten Tournament. With the win, the 'Cats will finish tied for fourth in the regular season standings and continue to build a strong case for the NCAA tournament.
The `Cats have not made the tournament since the 2005 season, when they finished with an identical 6-4 record in conference play. NU will be tied with either Indiana or Michigan for fourth in the conference, but will be the fifth seed in the tournament because of regular season losses to both teams.
After a loss to No. 2 Ohio State Friday afternoon, the Wildcats bounced back against the Nittany Lions and swept all three doubles matches. The Wildcats have won the doubles point in 19 of 25 duals this season, which has proved critical since they have played in 16 duals with scores of 5-2 closer.
Alexander Thams (Stockholm, Sweden/Enskilda Gymnasiet) and Andrew McCarthy (Cincinnati, Ohio/Indian Hills) got the ball rolling for the `Cats with an 8-2 win over Brendan Lynch and Guillaume St-Maurice at No. 3. The Wildcat duo leads the team with 15 wins and just five losses.
Marc Dwyer (Peachtree City, Ga./University of Nebraska - Independent Study H.S.) and Alex Sanborn (Houston, Texas/Kinkaid) clinched the point with an 8-3 decision at No. 1 over the Nittany Lion team of Adam Slagter and Jason Lee. Joshua Graves (Milwaukee, Wis./Nicolet) and Tobias Reitz (Reinbeck, Germany/Sachsenwaldschule Reinbeck) tacked on the third doubles win for the `Cats with a 7-6(3) win over Eddie Bourchier and Ryan Gormley at No. 2.
Penn State tied it up at 1-1 with a 6-3, 6-1 Brendan Lynch victory at No.1 singles over Dwyer. Freshman Eric Spector
(Northbrook, Ill./Glenbrook North) tied it up for the `Cats with a 6-4, 6-4 win at No. 6 over Ryan Gormley to improve to 14-4 in duals this season.
The Nittany Lions tied it up again with a tough, three-set match at No. 2 between two veterans in seniors Adam Slagter and the Alexander Thams. The Wildcat took the first set, 6-3, but Slagter fought back and took the next two sets 6-1 and 6-4 to pull out the victory.
Northwestern showed the strength and depth of its lineup as it took the three remaining matches. The No. 3-No. 6 spots for the `Cats have combined for a 75-25 record in duals this season.
Freshman Reitz notched the third point for the Wildcats with a 6-2, 1-6, 6-3 over PSU's Jason Lee at No. 3. Southpaw Josh Graves clinched the Northwestern's 18th win by defeating Eddie Bouchier, 6-3, 7-5, at the No. 4 spot. Graves leads the `Cats with 19 singles wins.
Captain Alex Sanborn finished it off for the `Cats with a hard-fought win at No. 5 singles over Guillaume St-Maurice. The two juniors each captured a set with a 7-5 score, but the Wildcat came out on top with a 7-4 victory in the third set tiebreak.
The Wildcats are back in action Friday morning at the Big Ten Tournament, hosted by the University of Michigan. Play is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. CST.
#44 Northwestern 5, Penn State 2
1. Marc Dwyer/Alex Sanborn (NU) def. Adam Slagter/Jason Lee (PSU), 8-3
2. Joshua Graves/Tobias Reitz (NU) def. Eddie Bourchier/Ryan Gormley (PSU), 7-6 (3)
3. Alexander Thams/Andrew McCarthy (NU) def. Brendan Lynch/Guillaume St-Maurice (PSU), 8-2
Order of finish: 3, 1, 2
1. Brendan Lynch (PSU) def. #121 Marc Dwyer (NU), 6-3, 6-1
2. Adam Slagter (PSU) def. Alexander Thams (NU), 3-6, 6-1, 6-4
3. Tobias Reitz (NU) def. Jason Lee (PSU), 6-2, 1-6, 6-3
4. Joshua Graves (NU) def. Eddie Bourchier (PSU), 6-3, 7-5
5. Alex Sanborn (NU) def. Guillaume St-Maurice (PSU), 7-5, 5-7, 7-6 (4)
6. Eric Spector (NU) def. Ryan Gormley (PSU), 6-4, 6-4
Order of finish: 1, 6, 2, 3, 4, 5