For the Penn men's tennis team, a win against Princeton this Saturday would mean much more than just another Ivy League victory. For one thing, it's Princeton. This fact alone ups the stakes, as any Penn athlete will tell you. And for another, it's the Quakers' last match of the season. After a spring fraught with one close loss after another, the Red and Blue (9-10 overall, 1-5 Ivy) would like nothing more than to finish strong. "Winning against Princeton would redeem the whole season because it's always a successful season when you beat Princeton," Penn senior co-captain Rob Pringle said. Defeating the Tigers, however, will be no easy task. After winning the ECAC Championships in the fall, Princeton was the division favorite coming into the spring. While the Tigers haven't exactly measured up to expectations, they still remain dangerous. So far this season, Princeton has only lost two Ivy League matches -- to Ancient Eight co-champions Harvard and Columbia. And with a deep lineup headed by two tough, seasoned players in No. 1 Kyle Kleigerman and No. 2 Judson Williams, the Tigers have no apparent weaknesses at singles. Furthermore, Princeton's No. 1 doubles team of Kleigerman and John Portlock won the doubles competition at ITA Regionals last fall. But according to Penn coach Mark Riley, the Tigers are no different than the other Ivy League teams the Quakers have faced. Thus, he expects the same level of tennis from the Tigers that the Quakers have played against all season. Besides the obvious team rivalry between Penn and Princeton, several Quakers have rivalries of their own to revisit. Penn No. 1 Fanda Stejskal is looking forward to exacting some revenge on Kleigerman after having lost to him last spring in the Quakers' first Ivy League match of the season. The two have not met since. And because Kleigerman is a senior, this weekend will be their last chance to do so. "This is the last match of his life at Princeton," Stejskal said. "I would really like to beat him." At No. 2, Ryan Harwood also faces a familiar opponent in Williams. Harwood defeated Williams in straight sets last spring -- a win he believes played a vital role in earning him ITA Rookie of the Year honors. Williams was the previous year's Rookie of the Year. But Williams is currently on a hot streak and hasn't lost an Ivy League match all season. "Not only will he want redemption, but he'll want to finish a perfect season on a good note," Harwood said. "I want to bring him nightmares." Finally, this Saturday signifies the last collegiate match for Pringle and fellow Penn co-captain Eric Sobotka. The Red and Blue's senior pair are hoping to end their careers with a win.Comments powered by Disqus
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