PHILADELPHIA - Men's tennis finally returns home after not playing a home game in the entire month of March. The Quakers will play their first Ivy conference home matches this weekend hosting Harvard at 2 p.m. on Saturday followed by Dartmouth on Sunday at noon.
About the Quakers
Penn is 12-3 overall and is 1-2 against Ancient Eight opponents. The Quakers are still nationally ranked in the most recent ITA polls, now sitting at No. 63. They are one of three Ivy teams in the rankings (Cornell is No. 46 and Princeton is No. 59). Senior captain Hicham Laalej along with freshman Nikola Kocovic are in double digits in terms of dual matches wins this spring. Laalej is 12-1 at the No. 1 spot while Kocovic has 11 victories this spring. The freshman also leads the team with 19 wins overall in the 2010-11 season.
Scouting the Crimson
Harvard (12-8, 1-1) split its Ivy weekend opener last week, losing to now 46th ranked Cornell in a tight 4-3 battle, but then coming back the next day and taking down the two-time defending Ivy League champion Columbia 5-2. Junior Alistair Felton and freshman Casey MacMaster are both 2-0 in Ivy play for the Crimson. MacMaster currently holds a five-game winning streak and leads the team with a 12-2 record in dual matches this spring. Harvard was ranked 70th in the ITA polls the week of March 29th, but have since fallen out of the rankings in the most recent polls released April 5th.
Scouting the Big
Dartmouth enters the weekend with a 10-5 record overall, and a 1-1 record in the conference after also splitting its opening weekend last week. Like Harvard, Dartmouth picked up a 5-2 win over Columbia, but fell in a hard-fought match against Cornell, 4-3. In the match against the Big Red, five out of six singles matches went the full three sets. The Big Green has two players who are undefeated so far against Ancient Eight opponents, senior Curtis Roby and junior Chris Ho. They will travel to Princeton on Saturday before coming to Penn on Sunday.
A Year Ago
The Red and Blue were swept by the Crimson, 7-0, but the individual matches were actually closer than the final score would indicate. Four of the six singles matches went into three sets, but the Quakers came out on the wrong end in all of them. Last year against the Big Green, Penn fell 5-2. Current junior Jason Lin picked up one of two singles victories for the Quakers against fellow junior Chris Ho at the No. 4 spot.
The matches against Harvard and Dartmouth will be two of only three home Ivy matches for Penn. The Quakers are next home on Friday, April 15 when they will host Cornell.