Weekend double headers are always difficult, but this is something else.
In the outdoor season opener, Penn men’s and women’s tennis will play two matches this weekend, and they both have tall tasks ahead of them. The women’s side heads to Maryland to take on the Terps on Saturday before coming back home to face Rutgers on Sunday. Meanwhile, the men have two consecutive home matches on Sunday, starting at 9 in the morning with Old Dominion and continuing with Navy.
The men’s squad is fresh off of the ECAC Championships, where they tallied two wins en route to a fifth-place finish. After falling to Dartmouth 4-1 on the first day, the Quakers rebounded with consecutive wins to finish the tournament on a high note.
The Red and Blue will have their hands full on Sunday. Old Dominion comes in ranked No. 26 in the latest ITA poll and their top player, junior Adam Moundir, is currently ranked as the 34th best singles player in Division I. On the other hand, Navy comes in the loser of three straight matches, and they also will play a double header the day before.
The Quakers will look to a few key players who have performed well as of late this weekend. Sophomore Kyle Mautner has been dominant in singles play, going 9-1 in the top spot. The No. 2 and No. 3 doubles pairings of Mautner/Matt Nardella and Josh Pompan/Thomas Spratt have also been very effective, going 7-2 and 9-1 respectively.
For the women, this weekend serves as a chance for redemption. Last weekend, Penn lost both its matches 4-3 in heartbreaking fashions. Sunday’s loss to Old Dominion was especially dramatic, as Penn fought back to tie the match at 3 before dropping the final singles match.
The women, much like the men, have a tough first match and an easier second opponent. Maryland comes in at No. 42 in the ITA poll and has yet to lose a match yet this year. Rutgers has lost to four straight opponents, and has not won a single match in the last three contests.
The Red and Blue have struggled a bit thus far this year, and will look for production from senior captain Kara Daniel and freshman Sara Dreyfuss, two of their top performers.
The weekend is going to be long and grueling for Penn men’s and women’s tennis. But if they can pull out a few victories, it’ll all be worth it.
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