On February 27th, Penn women’s tennis was nearly swept by the University of Maryland to have its record fall to a shoddy 1-5.
Oh, how the tables have turned.
Since then, the Quakers have been near-unstoppable, winning six of their last seven matches, including a 5-2 thrashing of then-No. 36 Florida State. A commitment to the fundamentals and better team chemistry were the key factors in this remarkable turnaround, according to star senior Kana Daniel.
“We kept trusting our training and kept trying to find things to work on individually and as a team,” she said. “During spring break, we got a lot closer as a team, so that brought up the team spirit a lot more and made the energy better.”
The Red and Blue now take this red-hot form into the Ivy League season, which kicks off over the weekend with a home match against Princeton. The Tigers, current three-time defending league champions, will have their work cut out for them this weekend against the inspired Quakers.
“The nerves are definitely there... but they’re positive nerves,” Daniel stated. “I feel really confident that we can beat Princeton this weekend.”
Men’s Heavyweight Crew
The strong freshman and sophomore men’s heavyweight classes figure to play a key role in bringing the Burk Cup back from Northeastern to University City this weekend.
The cup was elusive for quite some time, but in the spring of 2013 the Quakers finally broke Northeastern’s nine-year winning streak, and retained the cup up until last season. The Red and Blue might have lost, but Coach Geoff Bond believes that his team put in a stellar performance nonetheless.
“Nothing went wrong last year,” said Coach Bond. “The classes that graduated [in 2015] were quite strong, and we had a very young group.”
Bond believes that the most important takeaway from the early season races is not the hardware that accompanies a victory, but rather the rowers’ development and the chance to further refine the boat combinations.
“You use the regular season to improve, to build your fitness level, and your racing ability,” he stated.
Still, a victory to bring the cup back is still very much the goal of this coming weekend’s duel on the Schuylkill. The younger classes will lead the way, but excellence across the board will be necessary.
“There’s a lot of talent in that younger group, but with that said, everyone is needed,” Bond said. “We need everyone at their best.”
After an almost five-month break from competitive play, women’s golf returned to the course early this week at the Kingsmill Collegiate. Unfortunately, the rust showed.
According to Golfstat.com, the Quakers were the third-best team in the field of 22 coming into the tournament; however, they ended up finishing in 17th place in the 54-hole competition.
As tough as the result was, the stats show that there is no reason to have a bleak outlook on the team’s future. On the first 18, the five golfers representing the Red and Blue averaged 81.2, but on the last round, the average was more than a full stroke lower, at 80.0. Senior Isabella Rahm notched a top-25 finish, shooting +12 on the tournament, and senior Erin Lo and junior Allison Wong both improved dramatically from their first round to their third.
The Quakers jump right back into action this weekend to compete in the Harvard Invitational, which bodes well considering the team’s recent signs of improvement.
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