After dropping yet another Ivy League match, the Penn men's tennis team is left looking toward next year for improvement. A season that can be described as little more than disappointing for first year coach Mark Riley ended on Saturday with a 5-2 drubbing at the hands of perennial Ivy League power Princeton. The setback means that the Quakers, who were optimistic at the start of the season about improving on last year's 3-4 finish, will wrap up the Ancient Eight season with a lone victory. "We've been talking a little bit as a team the past couple days and trying to define the season in words," Penn senior co-captain Rob Pringle said. "But it's obviously disappointing to win only one match [in the Ivies] and have that one be against the weakest team." One of the frustrations of this season has been the sentiment among the team that they could have won more games and matches. "We've been saying all along that if you look at the scores, we're right in the match," Pringle said. "It's pretty frustrating, but it's also a good incentive for the guys coming back to win a lot of matches for redemption." Although Penn did have some close contests over the course of the season, Saturday's match against Princeton was anything but. Senior co-captain Eric Sobotka and sophomore Andrew Kolker were the only victorious Quakers last weekend, and both players had to fight until the end to pull out three-set matches. Sobotka, who got off to a slow start by dropping the first set 6-4, quickly rebounded to embarrass Princeton's Daniel Friedman, 6-1, 6-1, in the last two sets. Kolker's match with Nick Benjamin was characterized by parity, with Kolker pulling out the win, 6-4, 5-7, 6-4. Surprisingly, Kolker and Sobotka's matches were the only matches of the day that went to three sets. Penn's No. 1 player Fanda Stejskal put up a valiant effort before losing, 7-6, 6-3, to Princeton's Kyle Kliegerman. Penn's starters at No. 2, No. 3 and No. 4 singles were unable to put up much of a fight against their adversaries from Princeton, losing all six sets and winning only 14 of the 50 games. Princeton was even more dominant in the doubles matches. The Tigers were able to win all three matches easily, quadrupling Penn's total points, 24-6. Despite the frustrations associated with a 1-6 Ivy finish, Penn's graduating seniors seem to feel that their four years were valuable and that the program has progressed during their years spent at Penn. "Eric [Sobotka] and I have talked about it and we think this is a different team than we came to four years ago," Pringle said. "It's not as big of a team, but its full of guys who are committed to tennis and guys who will work really hard over the summer to improve."Comments powered by Disqus
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