Penn men's tennis starts out Ivy season with a bang, beats Princeton, 4-1
The Quakers hadn't defeated Princeton since 2007
March 29, 2014, 7:32 pm · Updated March 31, 2014, 10:54 pm·
Ying Pan | DP
No rain could put a damper on this one.
On Saturday afternoon, backed by a boisterous crowd, the Quakers took down No. 56 Princeton, 4-1, at the Levy Tennis Pavillion, after being forced inside due to the weather.
For the seniors, this one has been a long time coming. After losing to the Tigers (10-8, 0-1 Ivy) in each of the past three years by the slimmest of margins, 4-3 — and failing to secure a win in the rivalry since the 2007 season — Penn (5-9, 1-0) finally ended the drought.
“[This means] more than anyone could imagine,” senior Zach Katz, winner of one of the singles matches, said. “Everyone circles this one on their calendars when it comes out, and everyone’s just on cloud nine.”
That wasn’t the only streak the Red and Blue snapped on Saturday either. For the first time in six years, they also have a winning record in the Ivy League.
“Hey, right now, Penn’s leading the Ivy League,” coach David Geatz said of his squad.
The Quakers got off to a solid start for the afternoon, as they picked up the doubles point to enter the singles matches up 1-0. As expected, nothing came easily in any of those.
Princeton would win the first singles match to knot it up , but over the next 15 minutes, the Red and Blue would rattle off three straight wins to secure perhaps the most important win in these seniors’ tenure.
“To beat a team like [Princeton], you have to win close matches,” Geatz said.
They did just that. The first Penn singles win came thanks to a two-set effort by Katz, who was followed up by his freshmen teammates Matt Nardella — who earned his tenth win of the year — and Marshall Sharp . The freshmen will have something to defend next year, but they won’t have to wait to get an elusive Princeton victory under their belts.
For the doubles point, Nardella teamed with senior co-captain Nikola Kocovic for an 8-5 win while Katz worked alongside junior Jeremy Court for a convincing 8-4 victory.
Saturday’s triumph also opened doors for a program that hasn’t had a winning record since the last year it tamed the Tigers.
“It’s huge, because we go into next weekend against two teams we think we can definitely beat,” Katz said. “If we get both of those, we’ll be in first, have a good chance this year.”
While the Quakers are still hurting from a slew of unfortunate injuries this year, this win helps numb that pain for now.