The Penn women’s tennis team came into its matchup against Princeton riding high.
It left disappointed.
Looking to start off Ivy play with a win at home against the Tigers (9-4, 1-0 Ivy) on Saturday, Penn (8-4, 0-1) appeared overmatched for the first time in a long time, falling 6-1.
The match started out competitively, with the Quakers taking the first doubles match, 8-5. But the Tigers took the next two matches to win the doubles point.
From there, things got out of hand. Only freshman Sonya Latycheva won her match at No. 3 singles, 6-2, 6-3. Sophomore Alex Ion battled Princeton’s Katie Goepel to three sets, but dropped the third set in a hotly contested tiebreaker.
For her part, coach Sanela Kunovac was proud of the effort her team put forth.
“No matter how [the match] starts, no matter how it’s going throughout the match, no matter what happens, there is only one expectation I have: to fight until the end and never give up any ground … whatever happens, to fight,” she told her team before the match.
“That was my only requirement and they fulfilled it. Not all of them won, not all of them had the match that they wanted, but none of them quit.”
The Quakers are also still tinkering with doubles pairings after losing senior captain Jules Rodin to injury. This week’s doubleheader against Brown and Yale should provide an excellent testing ground.
“Being in the position that we are, sometimes you look at it from the negative side and say, ‘Aw, it’s really tough to lose a starter,’” Kunovac said.
“And then from the other side, you have a tremendously young team
that’s playing, so you have a chance to pick up things for the upcoming season, that’s a positive.”
In the upcoming week, the Quakers will be fine-tuning in order to improve on Saturday’s performance.
“We try to sharpen some of these [skills] and if there is a glaring hole in somebody’s game, that can be patched up pretty well,” Kunovac said.
At this stage of the season every match counts, making this weekend’s double feature an excellent opportunity to get back in the saddle and on the good side of .500.
A key element to pulling off the sweep will be the support that should come with home-court advantage.
“We really want that crowd, that Brown match on Friday, it’s going to show how we rebound from the Princeton match. If we can get the crowd, we want it for both matches, but Friday is crucial,” coach Kunovac confirmed.
After all, who wouldn’t want to watch their team win twice in one weekend?
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