The men’s tennis team smashed more than just tennis balls on Saturday, and just in the nick of time.
In their last pre-Ivy game, the Quakers (8-5) finally managed to win on the road, garnering a 5-2 victory over St. John’s in New York.
“It’s always hard to beat a team at their place,” coach David Geatz said. “At their place, they’re about 20 percent better … So the hardest part of a match is beating a decent team on their courts.”
Although undefeated at home, Penn has had trouble playing away games, making this win particularly satisfying.
“I thought it was nice to get a road win against a team which I think is a pretty solid, talented team,” Geatz said. “And it was nice to win a doubles point on the road and so I think there were a lot of positives from the match for us.”
The Quakers won the doubles point in six of their last seven victories.
Geatz attributed the Quakers’ strength in doubles against St. John’s (2-11) to their practice and teamwork.
“There’s almost not one day of practice that goes by where we don’t do some doubles stuff,” he said. “As the course of the year has gone on, we’re getting a little bit better, and a little bit better at doubles.
“We’ve got a lot of guys that are really close, so for whatever reason, the teams got out there and their personalities mesh and they like playing with each other and they played well.”
Sophomore Jeremy Court and junior Kyle Roth can attest to this quite well. The two won their doubles match, 8-6, on Saturday.
“Starting with the doubles match, it was — Kyle and I — our first match together,” Court said. “It was good that we’re entering the Ivy League and we got one match under our belt. I thought we played pretty well together.
Geatz agreed with this sentiment.
“I thought the three doubles we had out there [were] three good combinations for us,” he said. “We’ve been moving people around trying to find the right combinations, but I think the time to do that is over with.”
In addition to their team spirit, Geatz also finds their dedication and perseverance to be important, especially going into their match at Princeton next Saturday.
“I’m happy with how hard our guys compete,” he said. “So you throw them out there and you say, go 100 percent, go 100 percent every single point. At the start of the match, you go out, you fight, at the middle of the match, you fight, at the end of the match, you still keep fighting and competing and we did that.”
Court’s singles match is a perfect example of this attitude.
“I’d lost five matches in a row leading into this weekend, so after I lost the first set, it was kind of tough,” Court said. “It was kind of like ‘Here we go again,’ but I just hung in there and I was able to get back to playing my game and then I came away with the second and third sets, which was good.”
Their teamwork and dedication will be put to the test next Saturday, as they enter a strong Ivy slate.
“This is the best the Ivy League has been in the history of tennis,” Geatz said. “I believe there’s five teams in the Ivy League that are all top 50 in the country. I’ve never seen the Ivy League ever this good in men’s tennis.”
Court acknowledged the difficulty the Quakers will face in the upcoming matches as well.
“I know that, playing towards the top of the lineup, all of the matches are really competitive and very difficult,” he said. “So I think it’s just going to be important to get off to a good start in the first few matches and then hopefully build up some momentum going through the rest of the season.”
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