Bring on the Tigers.
That was the overwhelming sentiment as the Quakers returned from their weekend trip to Virginia and now prepare to kick off their Ivy schedule against Princeton.
The trip, which began with a 7-0 Penn defeat at the hands of William and Mary, ended on a high note as the Red and Blue cruised to a 5-2 victory over Old Dominion.
Despite the lopsided score at No. 17 William and Mary (13-1), the No. 60 Quakers (10-4) were pleased with their efforts and saw the loss as an opportunity to work on their game against top competition.
"I think we learned a lot from playing doubles against them," junior captain Yulia Rivelis said. "For singles, a lot of the matches were very close."
Rivelis went down 6-1 and 6-3 at No. 3 singles. Junior Michelle Mitchell at No. 6 was the only Penn player to force a tiebreaker set, finally falling 11-9 during it.
While disappointed with the loss, Penn coach Michael Dowd took solace in the stellar performance of two of his young stars.
"I would say this weekend's highlights were Ekaterina Kosminskaya and Lenka Snajdrova who went 2-0 in doubles," he said. "Very, very good doubles."
The Eastern European duo posted the only victory over William and Mary, an 8-6 doubles triumph, and later won their doubles match at Old Dominion as well.
After the loss to William and Mary, the victory over the 11-3 Old Dominion may have been just what the Quakers needed as they head into their Ivy League schedule. The Quakers will attempt to ride the momentum they gained from the victory when they open at home against Princeton this Saturday.
For Kosminskaya, in her first Ancient Eight season, the Princeton match promises to be the beginning of a wild ride.
"This is my first Ivy match," she said. "I am really excited. The whole team is really excited, especially about the match against Princeton."
Dowd is confident that his team is ready for the inevitable obstacles that lie waiting for them on their quest for the Ivy crown. He cited his team's experience as a reason for his optimism.
"I think the team has [played in] a lot of matches, especially in the last few weeks, this weekend and spring break," he said. "So we'll get in a good week of practice and we'll be ready to go."
For the Quakers, this weekend was yet another example of a roller-coaster nonconference schedule that has been filled with its share of highlights and storylines. For Rivelis, however, it has been a mere appetizer to the season's main course - the Ivy League.
"We've been waiting for this for a while," she said. "This is what the season leads up to. . The energy's definitely up there and I'd say we're very excited."Comments powered by Disqus
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