After a long break for the winter, the Penn men’s tennis team was forced to wake up quickly from its hibernation to hold off a strong Navy challenge.
Bolstered by wins from freshman Jeremy Court at both No. 4 singles and No. 2 doubles, the Quakers defeated the Midshipmen, 4-3, Wednesday night.
The Red and Blue faced challenges from top to bottom, as Navy presented a strong, balanced lineup.
Penn’s No. 1 and No. 2 singles players Phil Law and Nikola Kocovic both posted victories, but only after they were pushed to decisive third sets by their opponents.
The two did not, however, fare as well in the doubles competition, as Kocovic and Eugen Brazdil were bested at No. 1 doubles, and Law and Jason Magnes lost at No. 3 doubles.
While Brazdil scratched out another three-set victory at No. 5 singles, the third set did not treat Magnes as kindly, as he fell, 6-4, 3-6, 6-2, to Navy’s Nicholas Gutsche.
While his teammates were locked into drawn-out duels, Court was dominant, conceding just seven games total on his way to two straight-set victories.
“It was good to get a couple wins in my first college dual match,” Court said. “It’s nice to get used to the different habits here in the college matches than in juniors.”
As evidenced by his performance, Court adjusted to the intercollegiate level of tennis rather quickly.
In fact, prior to their 8-2 victory, Court and his doubles partner, sophomore Zach Katz, had never played together.
Though the win was certainly sweet, the intensity of the match reminded the Quakers of the challenges they will face as the spring season gets underway.
“There were a couple points in the match where [Navy] had the momentum,” assistant coach Ty Schaub said. “Our guys didn’t go away, you know, they kept fighting.”
The resilient performance from top to bottom ultimately earned Penn a hard-fought victory over a previously undefeated Navy squad.
The Quakers still have plenty to improve on, though, as they head toward matches against George Washington and Georgetown.
“I don’t necessarily think they played a great match,” Schaub said. “But they competed really hard.”
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