While the Penn men’s tennis team has won its first five matches to open the season, it is still unclear whether this is indicative of a great season to come or simply the byproduct of a soft schedule.
Wednesday night at Levy Pavilion was a case in point, as the Quakers defeated an inferior Fordham opponent, 7-0.
The Rams (0-3) have yet to win a singles match this season and were not even close against the Red and Blue (5-0), who did not drop a set and won three of the six singles matches 6-0, 6-0.
Still, the biggest blowout for the Quakers came in doubles, where freshmen phenoms Ivan Turudic and Zach Katz defeated Fordham’s first doubles team 8-0 in just 28 minutes.
Whereas an objective observer might question why Penn was playing a team that couldn’t challenge them, coach Nik DeVore believes that there was no reason not to play the match.
“We had an open date in our schedule ... and it gave us the chance to play some of our lower players and let them show what they could do,” DeVore said.
So far, the Quakers — who have yet to play away from home this spring — have not been an underdog in any of their matches.
However, DeVore believes that the team faces challenges ahead. “The matches get tougher,” he said. “Stony Brook this weekend is a dangerous team so we have to be ready.”
Still, the Quakers are favored to win all of their matches until their spring break trip to California, during which they will face two nationally ranked teams.
For the Red and Blue, this season is beginning to look eerily like last year’s. The Quakers won all seven of their matches before break but went 1-6 in the Ivy League.
There are other negative signs that have been hidden behind the Quakers success thus far. One negative sign is Jason Magnes’ struggles. Magnes, who won a team-high 26 singles matches last season, is just 2-2 this spring.
Wednesday night, Magnes struggled the most of any Quaker, surrendering six games and his first seven match points to his Fordham opponent, Austin Shoup.
“He kind of had a mental bloc, but he worked through it and pulled out the match in straight sets,” DeVore said.
Another issue for Penn is the loss of two players who have chosen not to play for the team this year, sophomore Rob Wong and last year’s No. 1 singles player, Eugen Brazdil.
DeVore explained that Brazdil’s departure from the team is not definite. “We are still talking to him, and we’re hoping to get him back,” he said.
Even without Brazdil, DeVore believes the Quakers are deep enough to challenge for an Ivy League title.
“There are always guys on our bench who are ready to step in and win matches.”Comments powered by Disqus
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