Wednesday afternoon, the Penn men’s tennis team will be putting its undefeated record against a familiar foe on the line.
After dominating Stony Brook to the tune of a 7-0 thrashing, the Quakers (3-1) will play host to Temple at Levy Pavilion in their fourth contest of a six-match homestand.
The Quakers are a perfect 20-0 all-time against the Owls (2-3) and are undefeated at home so far this season. The Owls will be looking to end both of those streaks, but Penn head coach David Geatz is more concerned with his own squad.
“It’s so early in the year, I don’t know that much about Temple,” Geatz said. “I know they have a couple good guys at the top and they are always pretty solid, but I guess we’ll find out Wednesday.”
Although the team has relied heavily on freshmen and sophomores this year, junior co-captain Nikola Kocovic has impressed the coaching staff.
“I think Nikola Kocovic is really playing well, I mean really well,” Geatz said. “When he plays well, he can beat darn near anybody. I’m really impressed with how well he’s playing. I’d be surprised if he doesn’t win [on Wednesday].”
The Quakers aren’t invincible, though.
Doubles play has been a weakness for the Quakers, as they have needed to dominate the singles matches in order to rescue valuable points. For Kocovic, as well as the rest of the team, that means that winning the doubles point is priority number one.
“I’m definitely going to emphasize doubles, so I can get as much match practice as I can,” Kocovic said.
Leading the Red and Blue with his strong singles play has been sophomore Jeremy Court, who will put his own personal undefeated record on the line Wednesday. Court is 4-0 in singles matches this season.
“[Court]’s playing great,” Geatz said. “He’s a guy that is better in a team match than he is in an individual tournament and he’s better in a match than he is in practice.
“We got some guys who play better in practice because they are loose, but he is definitely a level better in a match.”
Court has carried over the momentum from his successful spring last year into a roaring start this season and is hoping to keep the good times rolling as the team heads towards the beginning of Ivy League play in late March.
“As a team, we are just trying to get better every match going into Ivies,” Court said. “Individually, I’m undefeated so far this spring, so I definitely want to keep that going and just keep playing solid matches. Keep working on my game going into Ivies.”
But for now, Geatz and his squad have more pressing concerns — like Wednesday’s match. If his team maintains the level of focus and effort that they have shown in the past week, then going 21-0 all-time against the Owls looks likely.
“I think we are going to play well against Temple,” Geatz said. “We had a good week of practice and I think we’ll play well.”
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