Collegiate tennis is often just as much about attitude and confidence as it is about talent and skill. And the Penn women's tennis team proved the merit of a positive attitude case and point this weekend, when it stomped Yale and Brown, 6-1 and 7-0 respectively, bringing the Quakers to 3-0 in the Ivy League and 12-6 overall. The Quakers' positivity this season starts at the sidelines. "Go Shubes and Lou," and "Pick it up one," are typical of the cheers that have been spilling over the balcony of the Levy Tennis pavilion during this season's matches. Leading the cheering section during the doubles portion of the matches is Penn junior co-captain Jolene Sloat, who treads back and forth across the balcony, keeping an eye on her teammates and shouting encouragement between every point. Her positivity and enthusiasm rub off onto spectators, who take over for her when she goes to play her singles match at the No. 5 spot. Penn senior co-captain Shubha Srinivasan appreciates the support from the stands and the sidelines. "It is so inspiring and motivating to hear your teammates cheer for you," Srinivasan said. "It encourages you to play at a higher level." Srinivasan also partially attributes Brown's defeat to what she described as negative energy coming from the Bears' side. Once the Brown players had lost a few sets in singles, their teammates compounded their disappointment with disparaging comments from the sideline. The Quakers, on the other hand, never faced a situation that might have undercut their confidence last weekend, and therefore conveniently only had positive commentary to give. Each of the top five singles spots in the Yale (4-4, 0-1 Ivy League) match were won by Penn in two sets. And against Brown (6-9, 0-2), the Quakers won five of the six singles' matches in straight sets. At No. 1, freshman Sanela Kunovac shut down Yale junior Andrea Goldberg -- her competition on Friday -- 6-1, 6-0. Kunovac followed that match with an almost-identical win the next day, knocking out Brown senior Heather Young, 6-1, 6-1. Penn freshman Nicole Ptak, playing at No. 2, met similar success this weekend. Ptak beat Yale freshman Margaret Purcell, 6-4, 6-4, on Friday and Brown freshman Bridget Barbera on Saturday, 6-1, 6-3. Against Brown, only junior Louani Bascara (No. 4) had a third set to deal with. Bascara won her match in a tie-breaker. However, according to Kunovac, the competition both days was stiffer than the scores imply. "We made it look easy," Kunovac said. "But we shifted into an extra gear when we really needed to." Srinivasan agreed. "They came out fighting in singles," she said. "But we never gave them a chance to come back in any match." The Quakers also made sure to give themselves a bit of leeway in singles this weekend by fighting hard in doubles. As of this year, the Intercollegiate Tennis Association changed the rules of how the doubles matches in women's tennis are scored for the match overall. It used to be that each doubles win was one point for the team. Now, however, a team has to win 2-of-3 or all three doubles matches to receive one point. Against both the Elis and the Bears, the Quakers won the doubles point, which gave them room for a loss or two in singles. No such room was needed this weekend, but according to Penn assistant coach Robert Levy, it never hurts to have that cushion from doubles. Penn returns to action next weekend with matches against Harvard and Dartmouth.Comments powered by Disqus
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