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Women's Tennis v. Maryland Credit: Patrick Hulce , Patrick Hulce, Patrick Hulce

Coming off a tough loss to Princeton, the Penn women’s tennis team rebounded nicely to split its first Ivy doubleheader of the season.

The Quakers were able to slip by Brown on Friday, 4-3, but fell to No. 41 Yale, 5-2, to close out their weekend homestand.

After a disappointing defeat at the hands of Princeton to start off the Ivy season last weekend, the Quakers (9-5, 1-2 Ivy) knew that they needed a win against the Bears (6-9, 0-2) to keep themselves in the Ivy title hunt.

Responding to that sense of urgency, junior Stephanie Do and sophomore Alex Ion picked up a crucial win at third doubles in a tiebreaker, 9-7, giving Penn the doubles point and a key early advantage.

Brown would eventually come back to tie the score at 2-2, but thanks to a couple of clutch three-set comeback victories from junior Jaime Yapp-Shing over Sarah Kandath (2-6, 6-3, 6-3) and Ion over Ammu Mandalap (2-6, 6-3, 6-0), Penn was able to eke out a win.

Coach Sanela Kunovac was happy to have Yapp-Shing back in the lineup.

“She’s such a smart player,’” she said. “It’s really nice to have her healthy.”

Yapp-Shing’s presence, though, was not enough to put the Quakers over the hump against the Bulldogs (13-2, 2-0).

Facing their toughest test of the season, the Red and Blue only squeezed out two points on the day.

Those two points came by virtue of victories by sophomore Sol Eskenazi and Ion, the latter of whom won only after her opponent, Amber Li, dropped out due to injury.

After winning her second doubles match of the weekend with her partner, freshman Sonya Latycheva, Eskenazi was able to get a little redemption by beating No. 46 Elizabeth Epstein in straight sets, 7-5, 6-4.

In the past, Epstein had Eskenazi’s number, so it was refreshing to
get a win in such a convincing fashion.

“Sol didn’t give [Epstein] room to breathe,” Kunovac said. “She knew it was going to be a physical match.”

As a whole, the fourth-year coach believes her team is better than they give themselves credit for.

“I think we’ve seen a lot of good stuff in the last three matches from our team,” she said. “We’ve done everything right, [yet] we’re so humble as a team.”

Certainly too much modesty is not always a bad thing, but as a young up-and-comer playing with a little chip on your shoulder, it can make all the difference.

Or as Kunovac put it: “I want to see that belief on the court.”

For a team that consistently plays with intensity and focus, a high level of confidence is certainly justified.


Penn women’s tennis aiming for double the wins this weekend

Quakers tennis drops Ivy opener vs. Princeton, 6-1

Penn squad happy to play the underdog

Penn women’s tennis shuts out Temple, 7-0

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