Until this weekend, Penn men’s tennis had yet to play a tournament in the 2016 season at full strength.
Its veteran star, senior Vim De Alwis, was recovering from knee surgery after getting injured late in the 2015 season, and rookie sensation Dmitry Shatalin was stuck sorting through NCAA clearance bureaucracy.
Things seem to be falling into place this weekend for Penn men’s tennis.
For Penn Tennis, the courts of the Hecht Tennis Center and Penn Park provide a homecourt advantage like no other.
So far, this long schedule seems to be paying dividends for the team, as demonstrated on Sunday afternoon at Hecht Tennis Center. Coming fresh off a win against Old Dominion, the Quakers sent Rutgers packing with a 6-1 finish.
It was a much-needed turnaround.
Following a disappointing trip to Seattle last weekend that produced losses to both East Tennessee State and Washington, Penn Men’s Tennis was in desperate need of a spark to kick-start a season full of expectations and promise.
In Saturday’s meet at the Hecht Tennis Center against Middle Tennessee State, they got just that.
The Quakers want to be the Ivy League's top team for the first time in nine years, but they'll have to do it without the top player in program history.
Sol Eskenazi, who became the program's most decorated player ever with eight All-Ivy awards in her four years at Penn, graduated last spring.
Over a career that spans more than 30 years, David Geatz has amassed a shelf’s worth of accolades and with it, a reputation as one of the league’s most illustrious program builders.
With everyone healthy and playing well, the Quakers felt prepared heading into Ivy play. The team was hot and expectations were high.
But things quickly began to go downhill.
Big expectations are nothing new for Penn’s tennis programs, and both the men’s and women’s team go into this year with high Ivy League finishes in their sights.
Penn women’s tennis finished the 2014-2015 season with three victories in their last four Ivy League matches, including impressive wins against nationally ranked Columbia and Cornell.
To be the best, you have to beat the best.
Penn women’s tennis will have a chance this weekend to start proving that they deserve the exciting expectations surrounding the program for the 2016 season as they travel to compete in the International Tennis Association Kickoff Weekend.
The tournament is reserved only for teams ranked in the top 100 in the ITA preseason rankings.
Not a bad start.
On Saturday, Penn men's tennis opened up its season with a strong 7-0 victory over Navy, logging wins all across the board.
Sunday saw the conclusion of an excellent showing for Penn Women’s Tennis at the Cissie Leary Invitational Women’s tennis tournament, a tournament hosted on Penn’s very own campus this past weekend.
For Penn women’s tennis, 2015 was a streaky but ultimately successful season. By the year’s end, the team had notched several wins against nationally ranked teams and generated excitement for bigger things to come in 2016.
It’s a constant at any match. Arms crossed. Hat pulled down low. An intimidating, but composed gaze. At big moments, she erupts with a fist pump and a “lets go!”
Penn men’s tennis dropped its final two Ivy League matches over the weekend against No. 48 Cornell and No. 23 Columbia, completing a winless Ivy campaign.
On March 21, Penn men’s tennis was prepared for matches against Temple and the joint team of Claremont-Mudd-Scripps.
Hoping to snap a five match losing streak, Penn men’s tennis faced off against St. John’s at home on Wednesday in before wrapping its Ancient Eight slate this coming weekend.
However, in a tough ending to the nonconference season, the Quakers were unable to notch a win against the Red Storm (10-8), falling by a score of 5-2 for the third consecutive match.
While it hoped to develop momentum from the match’s outset, Penn (14-9) lost the doubles point early by dropping two of its three matches by identical 8-4 margings.
Every April, the country’s best club tennis teams flock to the USTA Tennis On Campus National Championship. Since the first National Championship in 2000, Penn has qualified for the big dance every year.
The first one is always the hardest.
Following a rough beginning to the Ivy League season, Penn women’s tennis carved out its first win in Ancient Eight play over the weekend.
“I didn’t think it was a big deal... In the worst case, I thought that I’d be missing one match.”
If only that were the case.