Penn men's tennis looks to rebound against Elis

The injury plagued Quakers go into the matchup shorthanded

· March 27, 2014, 7:17 pm   ·  Updated April 7, 2014, 12:56 am

Carolyn Lim | DP

The Quakers head into their matchup against Yale with major injury problems, most notably with normal first singles Nikola Kokovic out due to ankle problems.


How can the Penn men’s tennis team get past a recent spate of injuries?

Perhaps a little positive thinking will do the trick.

This Saturday, the Quakers will host Princeton to kick off the Ivy League stretch for the Red and Blue.

The battle-bruised Quakers (4-9) will look to start the Ivy season right with a rebound win over the Tigers (10-7) after their 5-2 loss against St. Johns on Wednesday.

Already shorthanded with normal first singles Nikola Kocovic out due to an ankle injury, Penn received a double dose of ankle trouble when his replacement, sophomore Vim De Alwis , suffered an identical injury and had to retire in the second set of his match against the Red Storm.

But the Red and Blue know better than to hang their heads low.

“We just need to show a lot of positive energy,” sophomore Blaine Willenborg said, who has also missed time due to injury this season. “Especially for us going against Princeton this weekend, it’s key.

“If you show a lot of positive energy, especially in the Ivy League , you do a lot better. I think if we play well this weekend we’ll get four points, which is a win.”

Princeton started off its season strong but has since gone through some rough patches along the way.

Princeton will be looking for redemption of its own after a sub par showing at the USD Challenge, where the team lost to Drake and Purdue, and its only win came over San Diego State.

With this matchup on the horizon, the injury-riddled Quakers are hoping that they can pull out a victory even in such a dismal situation.

“I think we’re going to surprise some people,” coach David Geatz said, “Blaine’s going to be two days better and I hope Vim plays, but if Kocovic doesn’t play and Vim doesn’t play and Blaine can’t play then we’ve already lost. Ismael [Lahlou] can’t play and Stu Little can’t play, if we lose those guys it would be a miracle to win.”

This weekend may end up being the bright light at the end of the dark tunnel for the Red and Blue as they may have some more of their much needed players cleared for action.

“Our number one went out today [De Alwis] and our regular number one [Kocovic] got injured last week, but if we get our top two players back playing well, we will do well,” Willenborg said. “I’m confident they’ll come back healthy ... I assume they’ll both be back Saturday.”

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