max cancilla

Playing a seed above his normal position, Penn men's tennis sophomore Max Cancilla has been a key part of the Quakers' recent success.

Credit: Zach Sheldon

With the tennis season in full swing, Penn is peaking at the right time.

As both the men and women enter stretches of nothing but Ivy League play, both appear to be hitting their stride ahead of showdowns with rival Princeton. The women (7-8, 0-0 Ivy) have won two straight matches, while the male Quakers (11-9, 0-0) are currently on a four-match win streak heading into the weekend.

“It's definitely been great getting a few wins and some momentum going into Ivies,” senior Josh Pompan said. 

During this stretch, the male Quakers have gotten contributions from across the team. Notably, last week in a doubleheader against Temple and Binghamton, sophomore Max Cancilla stepped up playing at the three-spot, one above his normal position. Despite playing in a higher seed, Cancilla was able to secure two victories on the day, showing leadership and toughness to his teammates. 

Similarly, the women eked out a 4-3 win over Saint John's last weekend by the slimmest possible margin, winning three of six singles matches and two of three in doubles in an effort that requried contributions from the whole lineup.

“It’s been a complete team [during this streak] effort from one to six,” Popman stated. “We’re back to full form and getting a great team effort all around.”

On top of winning their last four games, the Penn men is currently on an eight-game home winning streak. Both Quaker squads have played significantly better at home this year; the men have a home record of 8-1 compared to an away/neutral record of just 3-8, while the women have a 5-2 home mark compared to 2-6 outside of west Philly.

Potentially playing outdoors this weekend for the first time in a while, the Red and Blue hope to continue this home-court success with the help of the fans.

“We’ve played at home really well and we're excited,” Pompan said. “Being with our home crowd this weekend, potentially going outdoors, it’s gonna be great.”

This match additionally marks the start of Ivy League play, something the Quakers have been preparing for all season.

“We’ve been counting down the days to Princeton,” Pompan said. “It’s always one of our biggest matches of the year. We’re always talking about when Princeton is, but we’re going to treat it like any other match.”

The final matches of the season consists of seven straight Ivy League opponents for the Quakers, shifting team focus entirely to inner conference play.

“It’s just one match at a time,” Pompan said. “All of these guys are top teams in the country so it’s going to be tough, so just one at a time.”

If either the male or female Quakers win this Saturday, they will be one step closer to winning the Ivy League, something they have not done in recent years.

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