Lincoln - The No. 57 Nebraska men’s tennis team (8-7) returns home for a pair of matches this weekend. The Huskers open the busy weekend by hosting No. 7 Ohio State in their Big Ten home opener on Friday, March 29, at 3 p.m. at the 17th and Vine Street courts, weather permitting.
This will be the Huskers’ first home outdoor match of the season and first match in Lincoln since Feb. 25. Since then, the Huskers have traveled more than 2,500 miles over the last month before Friday’s match with Ohio State. The Huskers, who are 0-2 in Big Ten play following a loss at Illinois on March 23, will wrap up the weekend on Sunday, March 31, when they take on Penn State at Noon.
Last Saturday the No. 50 Nebraska men's tennis team (8-7) suffered a painful 7-0 loss at the hands of No. 19 Illinois at the Atkins Tennis Center. This was the Huskers' second match against a Big Ten rival, and put their conference record at 0-2.
The Huskers struggled in doubles play, with setbacks coming at the No. 1 and No. 3 spots. Andre Stenger and Marc Herrmann faced tough competition on the top doubles court, falling 8-2 to Tim Kopinski and Ross Guignon, the No. 36 doubles team in the nation. At the No. 3 spot, Brandon Videtich and Scott Elsass suffered a narrow 8-5 loss to the Illini's Alex Jesse and Jared Hiltzik.
The Huskers started slow in singles play, with only Andre Stenger finishing the first set ahead of his opponent. Stenger faced No. 40 Jared Hiltzik, who is ranked #40 in the ITA National Rankings. Stenger won the first set, 7-5, before Hiltzik rebounded to win the last two sets, 6-4, 6-2.
Bradford Zitsch faced his first ranked opponent of his college career at No. 6 singles, when he fell to No. 108 Ross Guignon 6-3, 6-1. Next Eric Sock was defeated at the No. 4 spot in straight sets (6-1, 6-2) by Stephen Hoh. At No. 2 singles, Dusty Boyers was defeated by Tim Kopinkski 7-6, 7-6.
Marc Herrmann had a close match at the No. 3 singles against Bruno Abdelnour. Herrmann lost the first set 6-4, but claimed the second 6-3, before losing the third 6-2. After Herrmann fell in the third set, Tom Blackwell did the same at the No. 5. He also gave up the first set against Farris Gosea, 6-2, but came back in the second set winning 7-5. Blackwell went on to lose the third set 6-1.
"I'm disappointed that we didn't step it up in singles when we needed to," said Coach Kerry McDermott. "I guess that is why they ended up winning some tight singles matches in four of the singles spots. The Big Ten is solid and we need to play hard and compete in every match."
Scouting the Ohio State Buckeyes
Overall record: 18-2 • Conference: 1-0 • Region: 0-0 • Home: 13-0 • Away: 3-1 • Neutral: 2-1 vs National ranked: 6-2 • vs Regional ranked: 0-0
The Buckeyes currently sit at No. 7 in the ITA National Team Rankings. They hold an 18-2 overall record and are 3-0 for conference matches. They have won their last eight matches, most recently a 7-0 sweep over Indiana on March 24.
Head Coach Ty Tucker: 14th Season
Ohio State/Career Record: 360-58 (.861)
Big Ten Record: 120-11 (.916)
Big Ten Tournament Record: 31-6 (.838)
NCAA Tournament Record: 32-13
Scouting the Penn State Nittany Lions
Overall record: 6-10 • Big Ten: 0-3 • Region: 1-2 • Home: 3-5 • Away: 2-4 • Neutral: 1-1
vs National ranked: 1-8 • vs Regional ranked: 0-0
The Nittany Lions currently hold a 6-10 record overall and are 0-3 for conference matches. They have dropped their last two matches, most recently a 6-1 loss to Purdue on March 24. Before facing the Huskers, Penn State will travel to Iowa City to face off against the Hawkeyes on March 29.
Head Coach: Jeff Zinn
Jeff Zinn enters his second season at the helm of the Penn State men's tennis program. In his first campaign, Penn State went 11-14, 1-10 in the Big Ten.
The Huskers have a quick turnaround, facing one more conference rival at home before going back on the road. On Wednesday, April 3, Nebraska welcomes Iowa to town before traveling to Purdue on April 5.