PHILADELPHIA – Penn (2-0) will be back in action for its third and fourth matches of the spring season this weekend after a long, three-week layoff. The Red and Blue will welcome Rutgers (1-1) to Philadelphia on Saturday for a noon match, and then on Sunday they will go head-to-head with defending Atlantic-10 champion Richmond (1-3), also at noon. The last time the Quakers were on the court, they topped Lehigh and Saint Joseph’s, both 7-0, in a doubleheader at the Levy Tennis Pavilion on Jan. 19.
The Quakers will be led by a trio of young talent, the oldest being Stephanie Do, a junior co-captain, at second singles and doubles. Sol Eskenazi, a sophomore, will be playing at first singles and doubles. Rookie Sonya Latycheva will join Eskenazi at first doubles, and together they make up the No. 14 ranked pair in the nation, and top-ranked in the northeast region.
Penn leads the Scarlet Knights, 10-2, in the all-time series and has never lost to them at home, but the two programs have not met since 2000. Rutgers has split its two dual matches this spring, falling to Delaware, 4-3, last week and earning its first win on Thursday, beating Lehigh 7-0. The Scarlet Knights are led at first singles and doubles by All-Big East junior Vanessa Petrini.
Penn leads the all-time series against Richmond, 7-6, but the teams have split their last four meetings – all were in Philadelphia. The Red and Blue are 4-4 against the Spiders at home, hitting the .500 mark there the last time these two teams met on Feb. 11 of last season. Penn won the tight match, 4-3, getting victories at first, second, third, and sixth singles from Eskenazi, Do, Alex Ion, and Jules Rodin, respectively. The third doubles team of Daniela DePaoli and Emma Whitefield also won that day.
Richmond has had a rough start to its season, dropping three of its four spring matches. The Spiders will come to Levy on Sunday to close out their Philadelphia tour, as they will also play Temple on Friday and Saint Joseph’s on Saturday. Entering 2013, Richmond was picked to finish second in the A-10, and is looking to win its fifth-straight conference title and seventh of the last 10. The Spiders are led by the 2012 A-10 Rookie of the Year, Melissa Kandinata, who was recently named the conference player of the week.