Regardless of how bumpy the journeys may have been, both Penn men’s and women’s tennis finished their seasons with back-to-back wins against Yale and Brown this weekend.
Penn men’s tennis has been craving an Ivy League victory all season long. Affected by injuries, the team struggled in its first five conference matchups. That drought finally came to an end when the Quakers took down Yale by a score of 4-1.
Saturday’s matchup started with Penn (18-10, 2-5 Ivy) losing the doubles point to the Bulldogs (11-13, 0-7). Fortunately for the Quakers, the upperclassmen stepped up in their singles matchups: Senior Kyle Mautner and junior Max Cancilla each defeated their opponents in straight sets. Dmitry Shatalin lost his second set in a tiebreaker, but in the deciding set, the senior flipped the switch and swept his opponent, 6-0. Freshman Edoardo Graziani also won his match to help secure the overall victory.
In Sunday’s matchup against Brown, the Red and Blue continued to rely on their seniors. After winning the doubles point, they faced sizable challenges from the Bears, who took both the No. 2 and No. 3 singles points.
Once again, Mautner, Shatalin, and Cancilla pushed the Quakers over the finish line. All three took care of business in straight sets at their respective positions. Their performances amounted to a 4-2 Penn victory, and after a season of challenges and obstacles, the group found some consolation in the last couple of matchups.
“I’m happy that the team didn’t get discouraged, and we were able to bounce back and have a really positive weekend,” Mautner said.
On the women’s side, the Quakers (16-5, 5-2) also beat Yale (12-11, 4-3) and Brown (10-13, 2-5) on Saturday and Sunday, respectively. The team finished the season with a five-game winning streak.
Neither opponent posed much of a challenge for the Red and Blue. Coming into the weekend, Yale had a legitimate chance to challenge Princeton for the Ivy League title, but its hopes were crushed at Penn’s Hamlin Tennis Center on Saturday. Penn took the doubles point and the first, fifth, and sixth singles matches in straight sets. Despite losing one point at the second singles spot, Penn was ultimately propelled to a victory against a tough Ivy opponent.
Sunday’s contest against Brown was the Quakers' last of the regular season. For the seniors on the team, Marta Kowalska and OJ Singh, who is also a DP staffer, it was the last match of their Penn careers. The Quakers got off to another quick start by grabbing the doubles point. In singles, freshman Yulia Bryzgalova and sophomore Mimi Levine both swiftly defeated their opponents before Singh put the nail in the coffin, winning her second set and giving the Quakers a clean sweep over the Bears.
Both teams waved goodbye to the seniors after Sunday’s matches.
“Finishing up with a win with the entire team at home is amazing. It’s the best thing I could have asked for,” Singh said.
Reflecting on this season and her entire Penn career, Singh also expressed immense gratification for her teammates, coaches, and the journey they have been through together.
“It’s hard to explain how much the last four years have meant to me. I’m thankful. My coaches took a chance at me four years ago and my teammates here,” Singh said. “We have been through injuries; we have been through ups and downs. We have been through moments of low confidence and here we are, standing strong. Five in a row in the Ivies, and I’m just so very proud of everyone.”
The women's team finished the season tied for second in the Ivy standings, while the men came in at sixth. Both squads were able to close the season on a hot streak and send off their seniors on a high note.