The No. 50 Wisconsin mens tennis team rode the talent of its young stars to pull out a defeat of No. 51 Penn State, 4-3, in their Big Ten opener and followed with a 5-1 win over UW-Green Bay on Sunday afternoon at Nielsen Tennis Stadium.
UWs newcomers shined in the match against Penn State (7-1, 1-1), as each of the Badgers three singles wins came from their freshmen. The victory marked UWs (7-1, 1-0) first win in a Big Ten opener since 2002.
It was a tough college match and were glad to come out on the positive end, head coach Greg Van Emburgh said. We keep taking the approach of playing one match at a time and making sure we dont overlook anybody, and its been paying off so far.
Freshman Moritz Baumann (Inzlingen, Germany) was put on the spot in his first ever taste of Big Ten competition, and the lefty did not disappoint. After dropping the first set in a tiebreaker, Baumann came back with a vengeance in the next two and took No. 3 singles from Adam Slagter, 6-7 (5-7), 6-3, 6-0, to clinch the overall win.
Michael Dierberger (Milwaukee, Wis.) also took some time getting comfortable in his match. Dierberger got by in the first set and left no doubt in the second, beating Ryan Gormley, 7-6 (7-1), 6-3, at No. 4 singles.
Michael Muskievicz (Homewood, Ill.) completed the freshman-trifecta with a win at No. 6. The big hitter took care of James Dwyer, 6-3, 6-3.
The Badgers received their fourth point in the match with a sweep of the Nittany Lions in doubles play. After Felipe Bellido (Lima, Peru) and Lance Kasarov (Burgas, Bulgaria) won at No. 3 doubles, UW was able to pull out two nail biters.
Dierberger/Muskievicz finished first, coming back from down 4-6 to pull out a 9-8 (7-5) win over opponents Brad Hunter and Ryan Berger.
Nolan Polley (Lexington, Ky.) and Moritz Baumann were on the brink of a loss, down 4-7 to the No. 23 duo of Adam Slagter and Michael James, before they too fought back to win in a tiebreaker, 9-8 (7-5).
Nolan and Moritzs win was really impressive, Van Emburgh said. Being down against a top pair in the nation and coming back to win really shows what those two are made of.
Penn State falls to 7-1 overall and 1-1 in the Big Ten. The Nittany Lions beat No. 38 Northwestern on Friday.
The Badgers did not have much time to celebrate their victory, as went back to the courts less than two hours later to face UW-Green Bay (3-2).
After an agreement between the two teams to skip doubles play, the Badgers were able to win five of six singles matches to nab the victory.
Notable matches against UW-Green Bay included Gian Hodgsons (Savaneta, Aruba) 6-4, 7-5 defeat of Tim Prudlow at No. 1 singles and Brennan Phippens (Bradenton, Fla.) handling of Eric Hines, 6-0, 6-2.
The Badgers will now have the luxury to rest up and get healthy, as they do not face competition until their match on March 3 at Northwestern.