With its back against the wall, the Penn women's tennis team got the job done. The defending Ivy League champions emerged triumphant from both of its Ivy conference showdowns this weekend, beating Harvard 6-1 and Dartmouth 5-2 to stay alive in their title defense.
The Quakers (9-7, 4-1 Ivy) are now one match behind undefeated Yale, who defeated them 4-3 earlier in the season, with two matches remaining.
Penn does not control its own destiny, but wins in New York next weekend would give it a chance
"I think we have to maintain our focus," co-captain Yulia Rivelis said. "We can't control how Yale does. The only thing we can control is how we play next weekend against Cornell and Columbia."
The Harvard match featured impressive performances by Kate Kosminskaya, Alexa Ely and Lauren Sadaka, all of whom won their singles matches in straight sets. The Crimson (2-14, 2-2 Ivy) fell behind Penn early and couldn't recover, dropping the doubles point and their first three singles matches to a stronger Red and Blue squad.
The Quakers' 5-2 win over the Big Green (14-3, 2-2) followed a similar course, with the Red and Blue taking the doubles point and the first two singles matches. The victory over Dartmouth featured singles wins from Kosminskaya, Sadaka, Charlotte Tansill and Yulia Rivelis.
Penn coach Mike Dowd was happy with his team's effort this weekend.
"I think we played well in both matches," he said. "The team really stepped up."
When asked to name the weekend's outstanding performers, the coach didn't hesitate, singling out Tansill.
The senior from McLean, Va. started in place of the injured Anisimova and picked up two straight-set victories, losing just eight games.
"She won two very convincing matches," he said. "And she beat two very good players."
Meanwhile, senior co-captain Julia Koulbitskaya reserved special praise for Kosminskaya, last year's Ivy League Rookie of the Year.
"Kate played some great matches this weekend," she said. "She's an excellent player."
The Red and Blue hope to build off this weekend's victories when they face the Ivy-doormat Lions and the Big Red, who have struggled in conference play.
"The team has really played very well," Koulbitskaya said. "It's just nice when everybody puts it together and everyone on the team plays well at the same time."Comments powered by Disqus
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