For over 100 years, the Midshipmen of the United States Naval Academy have waged battle against the Quakers.
The Penn men’s tennis team (4-1) will continue this century-old rivalry Wednesday afternoon at the Levy Pavilion, where it will try to increase its winning record over Navy (7-5). The Midshipmen haven’t beaten Penn since 1999.
The Red and Blue have been on a roll of late. After the Quakers dropped their opening match to Penn State, they have won their last four matches, most recently taking down Temple, 7-0. With the shutout of the Owls under their belt, the Quakers have plenty of reason to believe they’ll be able to keep up their hot streak.
“Momentum’s huge,” coach David Geatz said. “Not just for the team, but also individually, you get on a roll, you win about four or five points in a row. Momentum is big. I wish I knew how to get it all the time.”
Besides their recent spate of positive momentum, some of the Quakers’ success this season is attributed to the increased comfort level of some of the players during matches.
“Most people are playing a little bit better and are used to playing matches,” senior Mark Milbrandt said. “Once you start playing more matches, you get used to it. Just the whole team is playing better.”
According to Milbrandt, a key to Wednesday’s match will be — as usual — winning the doubles point, which would allow the Quakers to only have to win three singles points — a forte of the Red and Blue — to claim victory.
The Quakers’ attempt to increase this winning streak against Navy will not be an easy task, however, as some key men will not be playing on Wednesday due to exams.
“I’m more worried about us,” Geatz said. “We’re going to probably have to sit out half of our starters because [they] have midterms that night. So we’re going to play without a couple of our very best players.”
One of the men who will not be playing on Wednesday is sophomore Jeremy Court. This is an especially big loss for the Quakers because Court has not lost a single match this year.
In the absence of some key players, Geatz added that he would like other players to step up and play well to offset the loss.
With these players missing, the Quakers will look to overcome these starters’ absence and extend their winning streak to five matches by claiming a victory over the Midshipmen.
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