Penn men’s tennis finished its regular season on a sour note with two hard-fought losses to New York opponents over the weekend.
In the first match of the weekend, the Quakers took a nationally ranked team down to the wire but fell short by a point for the second match in a row. Last weekend it was then-No. 19 Harvard and on Friday it was No. 47 Columbia.
Penn (9-11, 1-6 Ivy) lost to the Lions (15-7, 5-2) in New York by the slimmest of margins, 4-3.
For the first time in the Ivy season, the Red and Blue won the doubles point and earned a 1-0 lead. The duo of junior Zach Katz and freshman Vim de Alwis prevailed, 8-2.
The doubles pair of sophomore Jeremy Court and freshman Blaine Willenborg followed by winning their match and gave Penn the early advantage.
Columbia responded immediately, winning the first three singles matches to put the Quakers up against the ropes, 3-1. Katz pulled out a victory for Penn to close the gap, but the Lions prevailed in the next singles match to seal the team win.
De Alwis managed to beat his singles opponent, but that turned out to be a consolation point, as the team competition had already been decided.
Back home at Hamlin Tennis Center on Sunday, the Red and Blue played their final match of the regular season and celebrated Senior Day.
However, the Quakers dropped the match to No. 51 Cornell (14-8, 3-4), 5-2.
The Big Red took the doubles point to start the match, but Penn stormed back early in the singles round.
Katz and De Alwis continued their stellar weekends to each record straight-set victories and give the Red and Blue a 2-1 advantage.
But that lead was short-lived, as Cornell would take the next four singles matches to close out the team competition.
In the No. 1 singles match, Penn junior Nikola Kocovic pushed the Big Red’s Venkat Iyer to three sets — including two decided by a tie-break — but fell 4-6, 7-6(4), 7-6(2).
The team loss to the Big Red was just the second home defeat for the Quakers, who have found much of their success in Philadelphia this season.
The match was also Penn’s fifth consecutive contest against a ranked opponent.
The young Quakers team will take the experience of playing quality opponents into next year, when it hopes to be fighting for a spot in the postseason team tournament.
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