The evenness in the Penn men’s tennis record this season hides a strange dichotomy.
Although the Quakers are 8-8 overall and 0-3 in the conference so far, all of their losses have been away and all but one of their wins have been at home.
This pattern continued this weekend, as the Quakers wrapped up their Ivy road trip with a 5-2 loss at Brown (12-7, 1-1 Ivy), and a 7-0 loss at No. 54 Yale (15-4, 1-1).
The games were also Penn’s fourth and fifth straight away games.
But the losses speak to the strength of Penn’s recent opponents.
“The Ivy League is really competitive right now,” sophomore Jeremy
Court said. “So I guess today and yesterday, we just weren’t able to win the big points and get the number of matches that we needed.”
Coach David Geatz agreed with that sentiment.
“For men’s tennis, this is the banner year of the Ivy League,” he said, referencing the fact that five of Penn’s Ivy rivals are amongst the nation’s top 60 collegiate teams.
“I don’t think there’s ever been a time we’ve had five ranked teams, so the Ivy League is becoming a premier tennis conference in the country,” Geatz added.
One of the problems that has plagued the Quakers in all three of their Ivy games so far is the doubles point. Against both the Tigers and the Bears, Penn lost all three doubles matches.
“We’ve just been putting ourselves in a hole,” Court said.
“Starting off, we’re already down 1-0, and then winning four out of six singles matches is always going to be tough. I think that’s one of the biggest areas that we need to improve.”
In spite of the difficulties, the team is focused on keeping
spirits high, looking forward and playing hard.
“From an experience standpoint, I guess it’s just another tough match that hopefully we can learn from and get better for next weekend and for the rest of the season,” Court said.
Geatz is also hoping to polish some fundamentals.
“We’ve got good team spirit,” he said. “We have a good group of guys and we’ve just got to try to do the basics better.”
With an eye towards the future, Court thinks the Quakers need to convert that team spirit into momentum.
“We’ve been doing pretty well as a team — staying in good energy and pumping each other up,” Court said. “We want to keep doing that because energy is really important so we don’t get off to a slow start. But even though we’re 0-3, [we] just [need to] keep trying every match and see what we can do.”
Next weekend, the Quakers will face Dartmouth (8-6, 0-1) and No. 18 Harvard (13-4, 1-0) at home.
“It’s just going to be tough no matter what,” Court said. “We’ll have a hopefully good week of practice and see what we can do next weekend.
“We’re undefeated at home, so hopefully we’ll keep that up.”
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