With its first match of the season dating back to Sept. 10, the Penn women’s tennis team has had plenty of time to think about and prepare for the Ivy League season.
Now it’s here, and the Red and Blue find themselves in the midst of the whirlwind of conference play, competing in seven matches in a three-week span.
After a close loss to Princeton last week, the Quakers (6-9, 0-1 Ivy) are possibly facing their toughest challenge yet — two consecutive match days against No. 28 Yale and No. 43 Brown this weekend.
Coach Sanela Kunovac realizes the difficulty her team will face this weekend.
“Brown and Yale are the two toughest teams in the current ranking,” she said. “Their one through six players are just like their number one, so imagine every single one of your players having to play their number one.”
Kunovac also recognizes the difficulty in repeating the Quakers’ excellent performance against Princeton last week, in which Kunovac believes her team outplayed its own expectations.
“We over-performed [against Princeton], so as a coach I’m realistic that you don’t hit 120 percent every time you go out there,” she said. “So if you can perform in the high 80s, 85 percent to 90, that’s what you strive for.”
For freshman Stephanie Do, the key to this weekend’s matches will be carrying the consistency the team has shown in practices into the matches against the Bulldogs (15-3, 0-0) and Bears (13-6, 0-0).
“We just need to pull all the pieces together because in practice we have everything,” Do said. “It’s just a matter of everybody coming out and pulling their weight.”
“We know we can perform at a high level, and we just need to have everybody bring everything they have on match day,” sophomore Emma Whitfield added.
The team won all three of its doubles matches over the Tigers, but ultimately lost out in the singles portion. Having that doubles success shift over to singles play will be a large priority for the team this weekend.
“I think the difference in our singles and doubles performances was that we had great intensity right from the very first point in all three matches in doubles,” Whitfield said. “I think our biggest goal is to carry that over — that intensity and focus — into our singles matches.”
And while Do recognizes that last week’s performance took extreme effort, she’s hoping it continues this weekend.
“I feel like if we gave 120 [percent] last weekend, we need to give 150 this weekend.”