Purdue makes team history in 6-1 takedown of No. 16 Penn State
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Purdue, ranked 36th in the nation, made history Friday with its 6-1 upset of 16th-ranked Penn State outdoors at the Schwartz Tennis Center. As the Boilermakers pushed their record to 15-3, 7-1 Big Ten, they also took down the highest ranked opponent in program history. The 4-3 upending of No. 20 Michigan in Ann Arbor, Mich., in 2000 had stood as the highest ranked team Purdue had beat prior to Friday. The Nittany Lions had their eight-match winning streak snapped and moved to 19-3, 6-2 Big Ten.
The victory is also significant to the Big Ten standings. Purdue surpasses Penn State to take over at No. 2 with conference-leading and top-ranked Ohio State up next on the docket for the Boilermakers.
"I am really happy for our seniors," Purdue head coach Pawel Gajdzik said. "We recruited them with a vision and they bought into that vision. They have improved all four years and now seeing them taking on the leadership role, it's gratifying. We have set high standards, we have a vision and all of these guys are committed. I am proud of the way we played today."
All three doubles matches were a grind-it-out, back-and-forth battle, which set the tone for the entire contest. Going up against nationally ranked opponents, Purdue's Nos. 1 and 2 duos provided upset victories to secure the critical point for the Boilermakers. First at No. 1, Szymon Tatarczyk and Ricky Medinilla took down their second ranked team in as many faced this season as the 74th-ranked duo downed No. 30 Russell Bader and Leonard Stakhovsky 8-5.
Purdue's Aaron Dujovne and Diego Acosta followed by dealing the No. 54 Nittany Lion duo of Chris Young and Michael Reilly an 8-6 setback at the No. 2 position.
Penn State entered the match having won the doubles point in 19 of its 21 matches played.
True to form, Mateus Silva rolled in the No. 6 spot, using a 6-0, 6-1 decision to defeat David Kohan for his 14th consecutive victory. His 13th straight-set win gave the Boilermakers a 2-0 lead. His 15 wins are a team best.
Penn State's No. 33 Leonard Stakhovsky took the No. 1 singles match versus Tatarczyk in the breaker 6-1, 7-6 (7-5) to give the Nittany Lions their only point. Playing at No. 5, Acosta responded and put the Boilermakers ahead 3-1 with a straight-set victory against Roman Trkulja 7-5, 7-5. He improved to 12-4 overall and 5-3 in the Big Ten with his third win in a row.
Needing just one more point to clinch the historic upset, it was the rookie who delivered. After falling in the opening set 7-5 to Bader in the No. 2 spot, Medinilla bounced back in dominating fashion. A Mexico City, Mexico, native, Medinilla took the second set 6-3 and the decisive set 6-2 to earn the fourth team point.
Purdue continued to add to its lead with two more three-set wins. At No. 4, Dujovne pushed his senior-season record to 12-2 by defeating Matt Barry 6-3, 3-6, 6-0. Fellow senior Mark Kovacs took the final two sets from Penn State's Alex Fennell after losing the first 4-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-1.