It was a busy weekend for the Penn men’s and women’s tennis squads with both teams splitting a pair of matches.
The women’s squad played their first match of the weekend on the road in College Park, Md., to take on the No. 42 Terrapins. The Quakers' lone victory came on court four, as junior Lina Qostal triumphed in straight sets by a score of 6-4, 6-4. The Red and Blue had their chances in several of the other singles matches, with Ria Vaidya and Luba Vazhenina falling in three sets. The match ended 6-1 for Maryland (6-0), but Penn put up a better fight than the score showed.
Coming off that loss on Saturday, the Red and Blue travelled up I-95 to take on Rutgers at home, dominating the Scarlet Knights in a 6-1 victory to record their second win of the young season. Penn (2-5) dropped just four sets throughout the six singles and three doubles matches. Coming off an All-Ivy season last year, senior Kana Daniel returned to her winning ways against Rutgers (3-5), cruising to a 6-2, 6-1 victory at the No. 1 position to lead the Quakers to victory.
The men’s team also had two matches this weekend, both on Sunday at the Hecht Tennis Center.
First, the Quakers dropped a heartbreaking 4-3 decision to No. 26 Old Dominion (9-3).
After narrowingly losing the critical doubles point, the Red and Blue were able to split the six singles matches, leaving them just one match short of completing the comeback. Their wins came from a pair of three-set victories from Marshall Sharp at the six position and from junior Josh Pompan, who is having an outstanding year, at the two spot, as well as a routine win for junior Nicolas Podesta at the four position. After taking a hiatus from the team for personal reasons, Podesta has exhibited the talent that had him playing No. 1 as a freshman two years ago.
In their second match, the Quakers absolutely steamrolled Navy, winning 7-0, with their only lost set coming at the five position as Thomas Spratt won a tight three-set match.
The Quakers' (7-5) results so far this year, including the win last weekend over Wisconsin and the close loss to Old Dominion on Sunday, show that Penn may finally be ready to make a run for the Ancient Eight title as conference play gets underway.
“I think our team is really good. The key for us is going to be getting guys like Nicholai Westergaard healthy. If his arm gets better and can start playing singles as well as doubles, well I think he is one of the best players in the League,” coach David Geatz said. “There are a lot of good teams, and Columbia is the favorite again, but with the way we have been playing against a really tough schedule, I think we have a real shot at winning this year.”
While the men’s and women’s teams split their matches this weekend, look for the Quakers to be making some noise as they head outdoors for the rest of their spring seasons.