Looking for its third win a row, the Penn women’s tennis team won a close matchup to stay unbeaten in the Sunshine State.
The shorthanded Quakers were able to eke out a 4-3 win in Fort Meyers on Friday against a tenacious Florida Gulf Coast squad, thanks to a clutch performance from sophomore Alex Ion.
Ion dug herself into an early hole and went down early in the first set, 4-1. She was able to claw her way back to 5-5 tie, but eventually dropped the first set, 7-5.
But after having a chance to regroup and speak with coach Sanela Kunovac, Ion roared back, winning the second set in convincing fashion, 6-1, and taking the third, 6-3, to break a 3-3 tie in the overall match.
Kunovac gave kudos to her player for what was the decisive performance of the match.
“I think Alex was very tough today and I give her a lot of credit,” Kunovac said. “I think it’s a combination of the belief on the players mind and getting used to the player you’re playing against.”
Today’s win was especially significant for Ion, who was defeated in a couple close matches prior to Friday’s, but came through when it mattered most for the Quakers.
“To be so mentally tough for the whole team to depend on you and to push through, it’s more than the score can tell.” Kunovac said.
The Red and Blue also received major contributions from sophomore Sol Eskenazi and freshman Sonya Latycheva, who accounted for the other three of the team’s wins.
The pair started the day off in dominating fashion, taking its match, 8-1. A win from senior Jules Rodin and junior Jaime Yapp-Shing at second doubles also helped Penn to an early lead.
Despite not feeling her best, Eskenazi went on to win her singles match, 6-2, 7-5, showing a lot of grit, or as coach Kunovac put it, “ a tremendous amount of composure to take care of the court against a player who was determined to stay there all day if necessary.”
Latycheva also took care of business on her end, dispatching her opponent by the score of 6-2, 6-4.
Coach Kunovac was proud of the way her team played in the face of adversity.
“This team is really becoming a team of fighters, they have a team cohesiveness that you want to see as a coach.” Kunovac said. “I’m just really happy how they support each other and push through it.”
Heading into Ivy League play, that kind of mental toughness will go a long way.
“Florida won’t be all fun, as Penn women’s tennis faces unique squads” : http://www.thedp.com/article/2013/02/florida-wont-be-all-fun-as-penn-womens-tennis-faces-unique-squadsComments powered by Disqus
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