While Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal were busy fighting for a comeback in the world of tennis over the past year, Penn tennis was making waves of its own in Ivy League.
Despite not winning a team conference title in either the men’s or women’s side, both sets of Quakers had impressive seasons. Penn women’s tennis, with their best finish since 2008, finished their season ranked No. 48 nationally in the Intercollegiate Tennis Rankings (ITA). Meanwhile, the men’s squad had a three-win improvement from the year before in the Ivy League.
Finishing second in the conference, and 11-8 overall, the women’s team had a strong 2016 campaign. One win shy of gaining a part of the Ivy title, the Quakers lost their championship hopes with a loss to Cornell in their .
But it wasn’t all disappointment. Current senior Kana Daniel was unanimously selected for the First Team All-Ivy. Daniel and graduated senior Sonya Latycheva were also unanimously awarded First Team All-Ivy in doubles — their second time receiving that particular honor in their three years together.
The men’s team, meanwhile, finished 3-4 in the Ivy League in 2016. The Quakers opened up conference play on a high note with two key wins over Yale and Brown. The latter match, especially, was one to remember. Against Brown, the match was tied at 3-3 with just one match remaining. Junior captain — though a sophomore at the time — Josh Pompan, suffering from a severe case of the flu, threw up on the court in the middle of the third set. After a brief pause in play, he then continued to rally on and win the match, clinching another Ivy win for the Quakers.
“I think that was a match that shows you, if you just go one point at a time, you’re in every match,” Pompan said. “So that just kind of motivates the whole team, matches like that.”
Despite the motivation from two Ivy wins, the men then faced successive conference losses to Cornell, Columbia, Harvard, and Dartmouth. But the crowning moment for the men’s team came in the last match of the season. The Quakers capped off 2016 with 4-3 win over their rival, No. 48 Princeton, securing a finish 3-4 in the league. The year before, they had finished 0-7 in Ivy play.
Freshman Kyle Mautner , the first all-conference performer since 2012 for the men’s team. Throughout 2016, he played every match at No. 1 singles, and helped secure Penn’s victory over Princeton.
“What went right last year,” men’s coach David Geatz chuckled. “We had a good group of guys that fought hard to the very end. And we beat Princeton.”