PHILADELPIHA - Playing in their final non-league match before beginning Ivy play, the Quakers looked ready to take on their Ancient Eight foes, toughing out a 4-3 victory over 70th-ranked St. John's at the National Tennis Center in New York on Friday afternoon.
After earning the team's best ranking since head coach Nik DeVore took over, at No. 64, Penn had to be careful against a Red Storm team which already beat Princeton, Dartmouth and Yale earlier this spring.
It didn't start off well for the Red and Blue as the Quakers lost the double point by falling at No. 1 and No. 2 doubles by matching 8-6 margins. At No. 3, the duo of freshman Nikola Kocovic and senior Zach Gorn provided some life, coming back from a 5-1 deficit to earn the 8-6 win.
In singles, a loss at No. 3 put Penn down 2-0 before Kocovic came through with the team's first point of the day, a 6-3, 6-3 straight-set win at No. 6 singles. Senior captain Hicham Laalej tied up the score at two apiece with his ninth straight victory of the spring , winning at No. 1, 7-5, 6-4.
Junior Phil Law then came through with a clutch straight-set win at No. 4 singles over Gustov Kallen, 7-6, 6-3 to put the Red and Blue ahead 3-2. Classmate Jason Lin finished off the Red Storm with his own straight-win, beating Michael Lampa 6-4, 6-2 to clinch the victory.
Penn improves to 10-1 with the win and takes to the court next week against No. 53 Princeton in the Ivy League opener for both teams. The Quakers play Saturday, March 26 at 2 p.m. in Princeton.
No. 1 Hicham Laalej (P) def. Asaf Honig (SJ) 7-5,6-4
No. 2 Stefan Bojic (SJ) def. Ivan Turudic (P) 6-7,6-1,6-2
No. 3 Milo Hauk (SJ) def. Eugen Brazdil (P) 7-5,6-0
No. 4 Phil Law (P) def. Gustav Kallen (SJ) 7-5,6-3
No. 5 Jason Lin (P) def. Michael Lampa SJ) 6-4,6-2
No. 6 Nikola Kocovic (P) def. Matty Najfeld (SJ) 6-3,6-3
No. 1 Milo Hauk/Gustav Kallen (SJ) def. Zach Katz/ Ivan Turudic (P) 8-6
No. 2 Stefan Bojic/Michael Lampa (SJ) def. Eugen Brazdil/Hicham Laalej (P) 8-6
No. 3 Nikola Kocovic/Zach Gorn (P) def. Matty Najfeld/Mischa Koran (SJ) 8-6