UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Penn State women’s tennis team (5-3, 1-0) moved to No. 61 in this weeks ITA Poll, released February 22nd. This is the second straight week that the Nittany Lions were ranked, falling two spots from No. 59 to No. 61. Prior to last week’s ranking, Penn State had not broken into the poll since 2008, when they came in at No. 75 during the week of Feb. 22, 2008. This season, the Nittany Lions have defeated two ranked opponents, then No. 57 Ohio State and No. 40 VCU.
Nine of the 12 schools in the highly competitive Big Ten were ranked in this weeks Top 75. Penn State joins eight other Big Ten schools in poll, including No. 9 Northwestern, No. 11 Michigan, No. 27 Nebraska, No. 41 Purdue, No. 58 Illinois, No. 64 Ohio State, No. 71 Minnesota and No. 74 Indiana.
The Nittany Lions split a pair of matches this past weekend when they hosted Pennsylvania on Friday and Tulane on Sunday. Penn State breezed by Penn, sweeping the Quakers 7-0, and winning every match. However, on Sunday, the Nittany Lions had their four-match win streak snapped by the Green Wave, losing 5-2. No. 43 Petra Januskova (Ottawa, Canada) and Fernanda Perrotta (Buenos Aires, Argentina) picked up the only points for the Nittany Lions.
Penn State will again host two matches this weekend. The Nittany Lions are set to face the Marshall Thundering Herd (3-4, 0-0) on Friday, Feb. 24 at 5 p.m. and will play the Miami (OH) Redhawks (2-7, 0-0) on Sunday, Feb. 26 at 11:30 a.m. Friday’s match is a Code Blue event for all students and will feature giveaways, t-shirts and pizza for those in attendance.
Marshall is led by John Mercer, who enters his 26th year coaching at the NCAA Division I level and his tenth at the helm of the Thundering Herd. Mercer is the winningest coach in Marshall tennis history. The Herd is propelled by the No. 51 doubles pairing of Dominika Zaprazna and Maria Voscekova. The tandem is 5-2 on the year, including victories over two ranked opponents. The Nittany Lions are 2-7 all-time against the Herd. Penn State has not beaten Marshall since the spring of 2005.
Anca Dumitrescu is in her second season as Head Coach at Miami. In her first season, she led the Redhawks to their third straight Mid-American Conference regular season title and she was named the MAC Coach of the Year. Miami is led by Riekie Honiball in the No. 1 singles spot. This will be the first meeting between the Nittany Lions and the Redhawks; the teams have never faced each other before in program history. Next up, the Nittany Lions will have a break in match play for two weeks. Penn State will restart dual match action on Wednesday, March 14, when it faces Temple at 4:30 p.m.