Every Penn athlete relishes a victory over Princeton, if not just for the win, then for that well-known intangible pleasure of seeing the Red and Blue dominate the Orange and Black. The Penn women's tennis team (10-6, 1-0 Ivy League) tasted that particular brand of success on Friday, when it defeated the Tigers (2-6, 0-1), 6-1, in its first Ivy League match of the season. "We destroyed them," Penn senior captain Shubha Srinivasan said. Though the win was not a complete surprise -- the Quakers had triumphed, 4-3, over the Tigers at last fall's ECACs -- the fact that the Penn squad swept all but the No. 6 singles portion of the match was more than either the players or Penn coach Mike Dowd could have predicted. Srinivasan attributes the win to her team's intensity before the match. "We worked so hard the entire semester," Srinivasan said. "We had a clear goal to win in the Ivy League." Srinivasan's 6-0, 6-1 stomping of Princeton's Kristi Watson at the No. 3 spot epitomized the Red and Blue's focus for the entire afternoon. "I was so psyched up and motivated," she said. "I probably played my best match of the season." Srinivasan's doubles partner, junior Louani Bascara, stressed how important focus and intensity were to both her own 6-3, 6-3 win at the No. 4 singles spot and her team's win. "I haven't been so into a match for a long time," Bascara said, describing her inability to even speak to teammate Jolene Sloat on the way to Friday's match because both were so focused on playing. The atmosphere at the Levy Tennis Pavilion complemented the Penn squad's enthusiasm. Spectators, family and friends went wild over every point scored, as Penn freshmen Nicole Ptak and Sanela Kunovac surged to finish their match at the No. 2 doubles spot with an 8-5 win. Noting Ptak's serves, spectator David Ferreira, a freshman, was proud of his hallmate's game. "She's not just good, she's awesome," Ferreira said. Fan support, along with that of Robert Levy, a volunteer assistant coach responsible for the presence of the Levy Tennis Pavilion, meant a lot to the Quakers, who haven't enjoyed many crowds at their matches so far this season. "When we saw all the fans, it was just hard to lose," Ptak said. Perhaps because of the amount of emotional and physical energy expended on Friday, the Quakers were unable to defeat Virginia Commonwealth (9-5) in their match on Saturday. Penn lost to the Rams, 6-1, to bring its overall record to 10-6. "It's just not the same mindset in an Ivy match as opposed to a non-conference match," Bascara said. Bascara did not play on Saturday due to a sprained ankle from an injury sustained over spring break. Nevertheless, the Quakers were able to force the Nos. 2, 3 and 4 singles matches to three sets apiece against a Virginia Commonwealth squad ranked No. 53 in the nation. And, more importantly, the Quakers got a win they had worked for since the first team meeting of the season to began their Ivy season with a victory.Comments powered by Disqus
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