No. 6 Penn State upsets No. 3 Minnesota for Semifinal Berth
April 28, 2006
MINNEAPOLIS - In the final match of the 2006 Big Ten Championship quarterfinal round, No. 3 Minnesota and No. 6 Penn State every point was marked with survival frenzy. With their fate in the hands of No. 6 singles player Brenden Lynch, the 52nd-ranked Nittany Lions upset the 41st-best team in the country, 4-3, for a semifinal berth.
With the team score tied at 3-all, Lynch and the hosting Gophers' Sion Wilkins fell even at one set a piece, on-serve at 4-all in the third. Sion could not hold serve, and Lynch's momentum grew with every volley. Trailing 5-4, Sion fought off a match point before Lynch sealed the decision at 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 and secured Penn State's spot in Saturday's competition.
Minnesota jumped to an early lead, claiming the doubles point behind wins from Adrien Debreyne and Raoul Schwark at No. 1, and D.J. Geatz and Andres Osorio at No. 2. Despite the Gopher sweep, both matches were far from routes, decided by a narrow margin of two games.
Penn State evened the team score at the start of singles play. Michael James took out Debreyne at No. 4 singles (6-3, 6-3), but Minnesota responded with a victory at No. 5, with Schwark's 6-4, 6-3 defeat of freshman Adam Slagter. Osorio stretched Minnesota's lead to 3-1 with a 6-0, 6-3 triumph over Malcom Scatliffe, but the Nittany Lions top-singles player, 68th-ranked Mark Barry, upset 58th-ranked Geatz 7-6 (5), 6-2 to pull Penn State within one.
In the third singles match, the Nittany Lion's Ryan Berger came back from a set down to take out Nic Edlefsen in thrilling fashion. With the 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 victory, Berger leveled the team score to put his squad in postition for the upset.
The Nittany Lions improve to 7-5 against Big Ten opponents and 17-5 overall. They are set to battle second-seeded Illinois for a spot in the championship final at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Baseline Tennis Center.
Penn State (6) def. Minnesota (3), 4-3