Following a pair of championships at the Columbia Invitational, the Penn men’s tennis team wrapped up the fall season with another strong showing at the ITA Northeast Regional this weekend.
A perfect 5-0 record on the first day of play — highlighted by three singles wins and a pair of victories in doubles action — ensured that all seven Quakers that entered in the tournament qualified for the main draw.
Coach Nik DeVore attributed his team’s strong play to its confidence and hard work leading up to the tournament.
“Overall it was great,” DeVore said. “We had a lot of confidence going in and we put a lot of preparation into our play at the tournament.”
The tournament was highlighted by the play of the freshmen. After dropping his first set to Connecticut’s Scott Warden in his opening match, Nikola Kocovic bounced back to earn the win. Later in the day, he beat Luis Guerara of St. Bonaventure in straight sets, storming into the main draw with momentum.
On the second day, Kocovic picked up right where he left off.
He topped Columbia’s Ian Laster in a hard fought 7-5, 7-6 battle to improve his fall record to 8-2.
In doubles action, the freshmen duo of Zach Katz and Ivan Turudic and the pairing of Hicham Laalej and Eugen Brazdil advanced all the way to the tournament quarterfinals, where they were joined by teammate Phil Law in the singles bracket.
While Law’s road to the quarterfinals was without any hiccups — he did not drop a set through his first three matches — he was shutdown in Saturday’s quarterfinal by 2010 Ivy League Player of the Year, Yale sophomore Marc Powers. Law squeaked out only one win, losing 6-0, 6-1.
Saturday proved to be a similar story for Turudic and Katz.
The pair cruised past Fairfield’s Rob Ferrante and Dennis Zlobinsky, 8-2 and beat Dartmouth’s senior pairing of Curtis Roby and Stephen Greif, 8-4, in the earlier rounds of the tournament. However, they fell just short in quarterfinals play.
Turudic and Katz were not able to capitalize on their numerous chances and fell to a tough Princeton pairing, 8-6.
It was the first loss of the season for the two who finished the fall slate with a notable 9-1 record.
DeVore was enthusiastic about the play of the freshman doubles team of Katz and Turudic.
“They just gelled based on their personalities and style of play,” he said.“Their play really complements one another. Come spring season, we will definitely look to them to lead our doubles teams.”
The Quakers strong performance during the ITA Northeast Regional tournament showed positive signs to the Penn coaching staff.
“Our play certainly showcased our resilience and our high expectation to win,” said DeVore.
“If our guys come together as a team like they did at Yale, we have as good a shot as anybody.”
While the Quakers will not play again in the fall, they will return to the courts to kick off the spring season against more local competition. They will take on City 6 rivals Drexel, Villanova and Temple at Levy Pavillion, Jan 29.Comments powered by Disqus
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