Penn women’s tennis entered the weekend unbeaten. By the end of Sunday’s matchup against Old Dominion, that would no longer be the case.
Hoping to sustain its strong start to the season over the weekend, Penn women’s tennis played Albany at home on Friday before traveling to Virginia to square off against the Lady Monarchs on Sunday.
In the program’s first-ever matchup against the Great Danes on Friday, the Quakers edged out hard, charging Albany, 4-3, before falling to the Old Dominion by an identical score to wrap up the weekend.
After clinching the doubles point to start off Friday’s match, Penn (3-1) turned to Sonya Latycheva at the No. 1 singles spot. The junior filled the place usually held by senior Sol Eskenazi, who did not play on Friday.
Latycheva managed to hold her own against reigning America East women’s player of the week Dajana Ognjenovic, overcoming an early 3-0 deficit to win in straight sets, 6-4, 6-2.
When discussing the key to her success against the Great Danes (3-3) on Friday, Latycheva emphasized her ability to “fight mentally, and not just physically,” in order to maintain composure in pressure-filled situations.
“The team’s mental toughness is coming along,” coach Sanela Kunovac said. “And our success has come from a mental edge, more than anything else.”
Latycheva’s performance was accompanied by strong play from sophomore Kana Daniel and freshman Ria Vaidya, both of whom won their matches in straight sets as well.
After their success against Albany, the Red and Blue marched down to Old Dominion, hoping to avenge last season’s loss to the Lady Monarchs (4-3). However, while both teams played crisp, competitive tennis, the end result was the same as the last matchup, with Old Dominion eking out a 4-3 victory in Norfolk.
“[Old Dominion] had hard hitters who played fearlessly,” Kunovac said. “And they had quite a crowd on hand ... which was like an additional player from the stands.”
After falling on Friday in both doubles and singles play, senior Alexandra Ion rebounded from her three-set loss against Albany’s Mireille Hermans to win against the Lady Monarchs’ Faith Atiso, 6-2, 6-7(5), 6-4.
“The energy coming from my teammates helped push me through this really long match,” Ion said.
One key takeaway from Sunday’s matchup is that with a victory in doubles play, Penn has now won the doubles round in every match so far this season.
“A lot of our players are very open-minded and are willing to mix things up and change [partners],” Kunovac replied when asked about the key to the team’s success in doubles thus far.
Despite the loss on Sunday, as they move towards next Sunday’s 34th Street matchup against undefeated Drexel, the Quakers hope to continue the consistent play they have exhibited thus far this season.Comments powered by Disqus
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