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Penn senior co-captain Eric Sobotka captured a 7-6, 6-3 win at No. 5 singles, leading the Quakers to a victory over Florida Southern on March 18. (Will Burhop/DP File Photo)

The Penn men's tennis team hopes its Temple counterparts will be more concerned with their men's basketball team's impending Sweet 16 game versus Penn State tomorrow. This would certainly bode well for the reeling Quakers, (5-5) as they conclude their current road trip with a 2 p.m. match at Temple today. On the away swing, the mercurial Red and Blue have already dropped two out of three matches, losing to Florida Gulf Coast, 5-4, and Eastern Tennessee, 5-1, before knocking off Florida Southern with a gut-wrenching 5-4 victory. Sophomore Ryan Harwood, Penn's No. 2 singles player, went 3-0 in those matches and notched the Quakers' only victory against Eastern Tennessee. Harwood, senior co-captain Eric Sobotka, junior No. 1 singles player Fanda Stejskal and junior Brian Barki all picked up singles' victories for Penn against Florida Southern. "The match versus Florida Southern was a pretty tough match," Penn junior and No. 1 singles player Fanda Stejskal said. "Although we had lost two matches before, we played tough and were able to achieve victory." The win over the Moccasins marked the first triumph for the Quakers (5-5) since the three straight home victories they reeled off over Richmond, Swarthmore and Haverford in the previous week. Penn hopes that the momentum from the victory over the Moccasins will spark a subsequent triumph in their match versus the Owls. "We need to sustain our level of play," Harwood said. "We're all hitting the ball really well, it's just a matter of staying sharp and keeping the intensity." Penn will need this confidence-booster, as it prepares for what poses to be the more critical match of the week -- a showdown at Army (10-4) on Sunday. The 10th-seeded Black Knights upset the No. 7 Quakers, 4-3, on October 6 in the ECAC Tournament. "Army should be a much more exciting match," Stejskal said. "Not to say that Temple isn't a tough competitor, but with Army we have to exact some revenge." The contest against Army will also be the final match before Penn begins Ivy League play on April 6. The Ancient Eight currently boasts two ranked teams, Harvard (No. 28) and Yale (No. 56), and the always-challenging Princeton. After struggling to a 3-4 conference mark last season, Penn will need to be at the top of its game if it desires to improve its conference record. Wins against Temple and Army would be major steps in that direction. "This week should be a pivotal week in our season," Stejskal said. "If we perform well, we should be ready to compete in the Ivy League."

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