PHILADELPHIA – The Penn women’s tennis team continues its fall season this weekend as it hosts the 17th annual Cissie Leary Tournament. Matches will be played at the Hamlin Tennis Center and Levy Tennis Pavilion beginning Friday morning and carrying on through Sunday.
This year, there will be 15 schools participating in the tournament. The Quakers are joined by three other Ivy League schools in Columbia, Cornell, and Princeton, as well as cross-town rivals Drexel and Temple. Akron, Bowdoin, Delaware, LIU Brooklyn, Maryland, Penn State, Rhode Island, Richmond, and St. John’s round out the field.
Last year’s installment featured an all-Ivy semifinal field in both the Flight A and Flight B singles brackets. Penn’s senior captain Stephanie Do and then-sophomore Alex Ion represented the Quakers in the Flight A and Flight B semifinals, respectively. Unfortunately, both would end up falling in straight sets. In doubles, the duo of Sol Eskenazi and Jules Rodin reached the consolation final, but were bested by the doubles team from Richmond.
The Red and Blue’s 2013-14 season kicked off last week as they played a couple of round-robin dual matches at the Columbia Invitational versus St. John’s and Amherst College as well as the host Lions. Over a series of singles and doubles matches, the Quakers combined to post a 22-16 record, including a 9-3 mark in singles against St. John’s and a 4-1 singles record against Amherst. All three freshman newcomers saw action and earned their first collegiate wins, including Brigitte Desnoes winning all three of her matches.
This will be the 17th year the Cissie Leary Tournament will be held in honor of the late Cissie Leary, who passed away in November 1996 after a long battle with scleroderma. Leary came to Penn in 1977 and had 16 teams with winning records in her 20 seasons coaching women's tennis. In 1982, Leary had one of her most successful seasons coaching as Penn claimed the EITA team championship. Her squad also completed five straight undefeated seasons from 1981 through 1985. Leary was very active in the local community, spending time with the Fight Against Drugs campaign for underprivileged children and the Greater Philadelphia Kidney Transplant Association.