Although most of Penn’s campus spent the weekend partying it up at Spring Fling, the women’s tennis team was all business, as it closed out their season with two wins against nationally ranked Ivy League opponents.
On Saturday, the Quakers, took on No. 75 Cornell, claiming a 4-3 victory.
The Red and Blue (10-8, 3-4 Ivy) won the doubles point after a pair of 8-1 wins by the No. 1 duo of senior Sol Eskenazi and junior Sonya Latycheva, and sophomore Luba Vazhenina and freshman Lina Qostal in the No. 3 position.
The singles matches appeared to be going just as smoothly as the doubles for the Quakers, as Latycheva and freshman Ria Vaidya won easily in straight sets. However, Penn dropped three straight contests to the Big Red (9-9, 3-4), including a tough three set loss at the No. 2 position by sophomore Kana Daniel.
Luckily, senior and three-time All-Ivy award recipient Eskanazi battled back from a set down to clinch the win for the Quakers with a 6-7, 7-5, 7-5 victory. It was Penn’s second Ancient Eight road win of the season.
Sunday was a special day for the Red and Blue. Along with being the final match of the year against No. 46 Columbia, it was also Senior Day for Eskanazi and Alexandra Ion.
After claiming the doubles point, the Red and Blue played several hard-fought singles matches against the Lions (12-8, 4-3), winning four of the six. The only two losses came from the seniors, as Eskanazi and Ion fell at the No. 1 and 6 spots, respectively.
With the Quakers leading 3-2 and two singles matches tied late in the third set, Penn got a pair of clutch wins from Latycheva and Daniel for a 5-2 team victory.
With these two wins, the Red and Blue closed out their season winning three of four matches against Ivy League opponents all ranked No. 78 or higher in the country. The team showed an impressive improvement from how it played at the beginning of its Ancient Eight campaign.
After losing three straight conference matches, head coach Senela Kunovac still believed that her team’s best tennis was still ahead. And with such a fantastic season finale, she didn’t seem the least bit surprised.
“After our first win against a ranked opponent this season, we didn’t just think we were a good team. We believed in it. We embraced it,” Kunovac said. “The first win gave us the confidence that opened up the floodgates for us to play well.”
Along with the win, Sunday was a celebration of two of the most successful tennis players the program has seen, and for seniors Eskanazi and Ion, the day was a chance to reflect on their Penn tennis careers.
Eskanazi, who finished her career with a 75-29 singles record, will remember the team for more than just the tennis.
“The team was a family for me,” said Eskanazi. “Coming from Argentina, where my parents can’t visit me, I was at home on this team. I don’t think I would have gotten through my four years at Penn without them.”
“Being a student-athlete was probably the most rewarding part of my Penn experience,” she said. “It’s an experience I’ll cherish forever. I’m going to miss it.”Comments powered by Disqus
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