George Washington may have entered Levy Tennis Pavilion with an ugly record, but Penn coach Nik DeVore made sure his team didn’t underestimate the Colonials yesterday.
“They have a losing record, but they play a lot of strong teams,” DeVore said of GW. “They are much more talented than their record shows.”
The Quakers responded with a solid 5-2 win in their return home after a challenging tournament in California over spring break.
The scores in the doubles matches supported DeVore’s point. The Colonials’ Chris Kushma and Arya Vayghan swept freshmen doubles team Jason Magnes and Mark Milbrandt (8-0), while Ugar Atalay and Erik Hannah did not let Penn’s No. 1 doubles pair sophomores Eugen Brazdil and Phil Law win their match easily (8-6).
Senior Adam Schwartz and freshman Rob Wong were the only pair to take a commanding victory, beating Richard Blumenfeld and Yan Levinski (8-3).
The Quakers (10-2) carried the momentum of their doubles wins into their singles matches, winning four out of the six. The Colonials only forced a third set in two of the four matches.
By defeating the Colonials (2-7), the Quakers added another win to an already successful season. And the win proved to be good experience for a young team.
Of the six singles players, three are new to the Quakers’ roster this year. This includes rookies Magnes and Milbrandt as well as Eugen Brazdi, a sophomore transfer from California-Los Angeles. The only veterans remaining on the doubles squad are Adam Schwartz and Phil Law.
“We’re still experimenting,” DeVore said. “We’re just trying to see who’s playing with the most confidence.”
It would appear DeVore’s method of trial and error has mostly worked out. For the past four matches, his ladder has remained intact except for the bottom sixth spot, where Milbrandt has shuffled with seniors Justen Roth and Jeff Karsh.
Who will earn the final starting position remains unclear, though Milbrandt and Roth sit with winning records this spring at 5-2 and 3-0, respectively. Karsh has struggled this year, taking just one win, against California-Riverside on March 8, in his four appearances.
Next week DeVore will have two more chances in the laboratory as the Quakers face St. John’s and Binghamton, two strong teams that will test Penn’s mettle in preparation for Ivy League season.
“The teams are all really intense in the Ivy League,” DeVore said. “Hopefully we’ll win these matches, but if we don’t it’ll be really good preparation for the Ivy season which is what it’s all about.”
And they hope to carry this experience into their conference slate, which begins on March 27th with a match against Princeton.
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