Williamsburg - The William and Mary men's tennis team dropped a close 4-3 decision to No. 66 Penn State on Friday afternoon at the McCormack-Nagelsen Tennis Center. After the Nittany Lions claimed the doubles point, the Green and Gold, facing its third Big Ten opponent of the year, forced a split at the six singles slots. W&M fell to 12-8 overall, while Penn State, who opened the year ranked No. 38 nationally, improved to 7-5 on the year.
The Nittany Lions swept the three doubles spots to take the initial point of the match. Following a win at the No. 2 singles position by PSU, W&M notched its first point of the match with a straight sets win at the No. 6 slot. Sophomore Varun Pandit won his third straight match of the season, downing Benji Kendall, 7-6 (4), 6-4. Kendal jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the opening set tiebreaker, before Pandit rallied to win four straight points. Kendall pulled to within 5-4, but the Tribe sophomore won the final two points to claim the opening set. In the second set, Pandit earned an early break and road it out for the 6-4 victory.
Penn State took the match, winning at the No. 4 and No. 5 singles positions in straight sets. The College took the final two matches at the No.1 and No. 3 spots in three sets. At the No. 3 position, sophomore Sebastien Vidal trailed 5-2 in the second set after dropping the first set, 6-4, to PSU's Jason Lee. The Green and Gold player stormed back winning the final five games of the second set to claim a 7-5 win and force a decisive third set. In the final set super tiebreaker, Vidal broke open a 3-3 match, winning six straight points. He served out the 10-5 victory for his fifth straight victory, pushing his overall season mark to 15-9.
Juneau upped his team-best record to 18-9 overall with a three-set win over Brendan Lynch at the top singles spot. Juneau earned a break in the fifth game of the first set and held it out for a 6-4 win. Lynch countered with a 6-3 win in the second to force a decisive third. The Tribe junior would not be denied in the third set, jumping out to a 3-0 lead on the way to a 6-1 victory. The triumph pushed Juneau's dual-match ledger to 14-6 at the No. 1 singles position. It also marked Juneau's third win of the season over a Big Ten foe.
The Tribe will continue its three-match homestand when it hosts a doubleheader on Sunday, March 15. W&M will welcome No. 63 Harvard to Williamsburg at 10 a.m., before facing Howard at 5 p.m. Both matches are scheduled to be played at the Busch Tennis Courts, weather permitting. With cold temperatures and rain in the forecast, the matches could be pushed indoors to the McCormack-Nagelsen Tennis Center.
#66 Penn State 4, #49 William and Mary 3
No. 1 - Keziel Juneau (W&M) def. Brendan Lynch (PSU) - 6-4, 3-6, 6-1
No. 2 - Adam Slagter (PSU) def. Marwan Ramadan (W&M) - 6-0, 7-5
No. 3 - Sebastien Vidal (W&M) def. Jason Lee (PSU) - 4-6, 7-5, 10-5
No. 4 - Eddie Bourchier (PSU) def. Dominic Pagon (W&M) - 6-2, 6-4
No. 5 - Guillaume St-Maurice (PSU) def. Ilja Orre (W&M) - 6-2, 6-4
No. 6 - Varun Pandit (W&M) def. Benji Kendall (PSU) - 7-6 (4), 6-4
Finishing Order: 2, 6, 4, 5*, 3, 1
No. 1 - Lee/Slagter (PSU) def. Juneau/Vidal (W&M) - 8-6
No. 2 - Gormley/Bourchier (PSU) def. Orre/Pandit (W&M) - 8-4
No. 3 - #80 Lynch/St-Maurice (PSU) def. Pagon/Ramadan (W&M) - 8-4
Finishing Order: 3, 2*, 1