Things are about to get a little tougher for the men's tennis team.
After cruising to easy victories in each of their last four contests, the Quakers will face Maryland and Louisville - two of their strongest opponents yet - when they travel to College Park, Md. this weekend.
Today's match will pit the Quakers (7-1) against the hometown Terrapins (4-2, 1-1 ACC), who narrowly defeated them, 4-3, last season.
The match came down to the final singles battle, which Justin Fox lost in straight sets, 7-6 (5), 6-4.
Penn is determined not to let the past repeat itself today against the Terps.
"We competed hard last year," said senior captain Jason Pinsky, who won his singles match last year but lost at No. 1 doubles.
"Hopefully, this time a few calls will go our way."
Penn coach Nik DeVore knows that today's match will be a challenge. He singled out Maryland freshman star Amit Inbar, an Israeli import and 2003 Davis Cup team member.
The former under-16 and under-18 Israeli champion is still undefeated in singles play this spring.
"He's a very tough competitor," DeVore said. "That will be a challenging match for Pinsky."
But as imposing as Inbar and the Terrapins may seem, the Cardinals (10-2, 1-0 Big East) may give the Quakers the most trouble this weekend.
The two squads meet Saturday afternoon.
No. 43 Louisville, led by freshman standout Austen Childs, has breezed through the early portion of its schedule and is fresh off of two convincing victories over Southern Illinois and Tennessee-Martin.
Childs, the 40th-ranked collegiate singles player in the country, has helped the Cardinals win half of their matches by 7-0 margins. The New Zealand native is 10-1 in singles play this season, and has not lost a set in any of his victories.
Even if the Terps and Cardinals can't slow down the Quakers, the injury bug just might. Junior star Jonathan Boym is out indefinitely and may be done for the season.
"He is equal to most teams' No. 1," DeVore said of his No. 2 player. "He's been injured pretty much the entire season with a shoulder injury. He's seen some specialists and they're trying to determine the best course of action, be that surgery or just rehab."
The coach also lamented the absence of junior Justin Fox, who is still out indefinitely with a very serious ankle sprain.
"[The loss of Fox] hurts quite a bit - in singles and in doubles," DeVore said.
Injuries notwithstanding, the Quakers are going to have to bring their best stuff if they hope to sweep their third straight weekend series.
"I think if we just stay focused and stay confident . we should have a good shot," senior Eric Riley said.Comments powered by Disqus
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