No. 46 Penn State Nittany Lions fall to No. 6 Illinois

UNIVERSITY PARK – The No. 46 Penn State men’s tennis team faced No. 6 Illinois today at the Indoor Tennis Center. The Fighting Illini knocked off the Lions, 4-0.

In doubles, the point came down to court three but the Lions were unable to clinch. Christian Lakoseljac (King City, Ontario) and Ben Lieb (Newtown Square, Pa.) dominated Aleks Kovacevic and Zeke Clark, 6-2. Matt Galush (Cary, N.C.) and Alp Sentay (Izmar, Turkey) were in a tight match against Caleb Chakravarthi and Alex Brown, but were defeated, 6-4. Constant De La Bassetiere (Reims, France) and Gabriel Nemeth (Brasilia, Brazil) fell to No. 85 Aron Hiltzik and Aleks Vukic, 6-2.

In singles action, Lakoseljac notched multiple service aces, but fell to No. 15 Vukic, 6-1, 6-2. Nemeth was knocked off in a tight match by No. 66 Brown 6-3, 6-3. Ben Lieb was defeated by Clark, 6-4, 6-0. De La Bassetiere’s found momentum in the second set against Hiltzik, but his match went unfinished, 2-6, 4-4. Sentay and Zach Lieb were scheduled to see action, but did not play today.

“I hoped that our win streak would keep going in the final match at home, but we ran up against a really good team,” said head coach Jeff Zinn. “They’re really well coached. They’re good at every position. We just didn’t have enough energy today. We lost the doubles point, which was critical for us and carried into singles. Unfortunately, it wasn’t our day today. I give all the credit to Illinois; they came and took it to us. They didn’t let us play our best. But now we have to look toward the road and hopefully we can improve our Big Ten seeding and National Ranking. This last weekend is going to be huge before the Big Ten Championship.”

“We were hoping to play Illinois outside where we had a better chance,” said associate head coach Paul Tobin. “They are a top-10 team because they know how to serve and stay aggressive through each rally ball. Our doubles were good, splitting, but we made some loose errors that cost us the match. Now it’s time to look ahead at Indiana and Purdue, on the road and close out our regular season strong.”

The Lions are now 14-10 (4-5 B1G) on the season. The team finished the season 10-1 at home. The last time the Lions had only one loss at home was the during the 2015-2016 season when they made the NCAA Tournament.

Penn State is back in action Friday, April 20 when the team travels to West Lafayette, Ind. to take on Purdue at 4:00 p.m. The team then faces No. 48 Indiana Sunday, April 22 at 12:00 p.m. in Bloomington, Ind.

Doubles Results:

1. No. 85 A. Hiltzik/A. Vukic (ILLI) def. C. De La Bassetiere/G. Nemeth (PSU) 6-2

2. C. Lakoseljac/B. Lieb (PSU) def. A. Kovacevic/Z. Clark (ILLI) 6-2

3. C. Chakravarthi/A. Brown (ILLI) def. M. Galush/A. Sentay (PSU) 6-4

Order of finish: 1, 2, 3

Singles Results:

1. No. 15 Aleks Vukic (ILLI) def. Christian Lakoseljac (PSU) 6-1, 6-2

2. Constant De La Bassetiere (PSU) vs. Aron Hiltzik (ILLI) 6-2, 4-4 unfinished

3. No. 66 Alex Brown (ILLI) def. Gabriel Nemeth (PSU) 6-3, 6-3

4. Zeke Clark (ILLI) def. Ben Lieb (PSU) 6-4, 6-0

5. Alp Sentay (PSU) vs. Aleks Kovacevic (ILLI) scheduled, but not played

6. Zach Lieb (PSU) vs. Caleb Chakravarthi (ILLI) scheduled, but not played

Order of finish: 1, 4, 3