Time to turn up the heat.
Over spring break, Penn men’s and women’s tennis will have their hands full as they make their annual road trips in search of competition and warmer climates.
This year, the men’s team (7-5) will take its talents to Louisiana for a span of three days from March 8-10. Just a week after Mardi Gras festivities, the Quakers make the trip south where they will play a slate of four teams over the course of three days.
Their trip will be bookended by home matches against Denver on March 5 — where they will be looking for revenge after last year’s lost — and then a meeting with William and Mary on the Sunday following their return.
First up for the Red and Blue in Louisiana comes against UL-Lafayette on Wednesday, after which they will make the drive to New Orleans to face Loyola, New Orleans and No. 20 Tulane.
“You want to play a couple matches where you’re favored to win, and you want to play a couple more where you’re not favored to win,” men’s coach David Geatz said.
The women (2-5) will find themselves in a similarly enjoyable environment when they land in Florida on March 6, but not after hosting Drexel in a local rivalry on March 4, the Saturday prior.
Over the course of an entire week in the Sunshine State, the Red and Blue will come face to face with four opponents, three of which are from Florida and the fourth being Boston University.
On Monday, Penn will face-off with BU in Miami, where the team will stay until it faces No. 40 FIU on Wednesday. Remaining action takes place in Tampa against USF on Saturday and then Florida State on Sunday.
“Success is to get to rotate as many players into the lineup,” women’s coach Sanela Kunovac said. “The second goal is to come back with the wins.
“I can’t put a number on it because the teams we’re playing are really good and tricky... but we do expect more wins than losses.”
Few would turn down Spring Break trips to these southern destinations, but the amount of tennis the Quakers will be playing certainly provides a strong test for both the talent and endurance of the two Penn teams.
“I think everybody’s excited,” senior Marshall Sharp said. “You’ve always got to be careful because it’s going to be real humid and real hot. We’ve got to make sure we’re in shape.”
“I want the guys to play,” Geatz said. “I think that’s how you get better. Good players play.”
The chance to play so many matches in the open will come as a shakeup for both teams but especially the women who have not seen outdoor action since October. The training will serve well for upcoming Ivy competition which is often split between indoor and outdoor play.
“I expect to see even more mental toughness because there will be more elements with the outdoor aspect,” Kunovac said. “I do expect them to build off the confidence from the last few matches.”
Wins are clearly the objective for Penn tennis over this one week stretch of play, but the real tests will come when they return to campus.
“We’re looking to have a few good wins,” senior Luba Vazhenina said for the women’s team. “[But] our main focus for spring break is to get our team up to where we need to be for upcoming Ivies.”
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