The Penn State University Nittany Lions leaned on a singles’ win from freshman Miko Eala to pull off a 5-2 triumph on Sunday afternoon over the Purdue Boilermakers.
The 6’1” Eala, a recruit from the Philippines, edged Michal Wozniak, 6-2, 7-6 (6), in the second singles to deliver the crucial point at the Schwartz Tennis Center during their road game in West Lafayette, Indiana.
The Nittany Lions went on to pick up their road win of the year in the 2021 Big Ten Intercollegiate Team Tennis Tournament as they remained third in the East Division conference standings.
They now have a 6-8 win-loss record, behind leaders University of Michigan and Ohio State University, which share the lead at 13-1.
“I felt like we finished the weekend on a good note,” said Nittany Lions’ head coach Jeff Zinn in a statement on the university’s official website.
Eala stepped forward in place of teammate Christian Lakoseljac, who got injured when the Nittany Lions took a 1-4 loss to Indiana last Saturday.
“Unfortunately, Christian was injured and got hurt against Indiana, so we kept him out today. I am proud of the guys for stepping up,” added Zinn.
Eala and his teammates stepped after they lost the doubles’ points in two of three finished matches.
After Eala took down Wozniak, Tim Ruetzel, Christos Antonopoulos, Alp Sentay and Charl Morgan followed through with wins posted in five of singles’ contests.
“Despite Purdue’s record, they fight hard especially at home. Miko got down deep and clinched the win in a back and forth tiebreak,” said assistant coach Paul Tobin of the brother of Philippine tennis phenom Alex Eala.
So far, Eala has led the team with nine singles’ victories this year.
Penn State concludes the regular season with a two-game home stand next weekend against Michigan on Friday and Michigan State on Sunday.