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Penn men's tennis held it's ground against the Drexel squad at Levy Pavilion on Saturday, sweeping doubles and winning all but one singles match. Rob Wong (Fr) Credit: Michael Chien

Men’s tennis coach Nik DeVore is taking advantage of every opportunity to find the right roles for his five freshmen and talented sophomore transfer.

With that strategy in mind, the Quakers will host the St. Joseph’s Hawks this afternoon at 4 p.m.

“Our first handful of matches every year are typically the ones where we can experiment with the youngsters,” DeVore said. “We can shift the roster around, pairing different players with one another in doubles play.”

St. Joe’s (0-2) has two games under its belt, having lost its most recent match 6-1 at Navy on Jan. 30.

Senior Nick Tuxen gave the Hawks their sole victory of the season, winning his singles match in five sets.

The match was Tuxen’s first in a year, after a shoulder surgery sidelined him for the majority of the 2008-09 season.

Meanwhile, the Red and Blue (2-0) have won each of their first two matches this season, defeating both Drexel and Bucknell by a 6-1 score.

Penn hopes to continue its positive start with a win against the Hawks. Last year the Quakers took a 6-1 victory, losing only at the No. 6 spot.

“We typically are pretty confident around this time of the season, before the schedule gets more difficult,” DeVore added. “But of course, we’re always prepared for the next match.”

The Quakers, who have won the first two games of the season for the third straight year, are performing especially well in singles play.

Freshmen Rob Wong and Gorkem Yurtseven won their respective matches against Drexel, while freshmen Jason Magnes and Mark Milbrandt earned victories against Bucknell.

“This is such an important time for the young players … to develop and observe their older teammates,” DeVore said.

The Penn doubles teams has also excelled this season, winning five of their six total matches so far.

The Quakers’ lone doubles loss this year came against Bucknell, when Penn senior Jeff Karsh and junior Zach Gorn fell by a score of 8-4.

DeVore says his main focus is finding effective doubles pairings for the season.

“It’s just a matter of getting everyone lined up. For now we’ll continue the constant rotation, but eventually you’ll see consistent lineups,” he said.

While DeVore will continue to experiment with the role of his freshmen, Penn will rely on a trio of sophomores — Eugen Brazdil, Phil Law and Jason Lin — as well as senior co-captain Adam Schwartz, to comprise this afternoon’s top six.

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