Men's Tennis Heads to New England This Weekend
PHILADELPHIA - On the heels of a tremendous 4-3 come-from-behind victory over Brown, the men's tennis team has a pair of tough road matches this weekend in Ivy League play. Penn (9-7, 1-2 Ivy) travels up to New England to face No. 24 Harvard on Saturday followed by No. 62 Dartmouth on Sunday. Both matches will begin at 2 p.m.
About the Quakers
Last weekend, the Quakers split the Yale-Brown weekend series for the third year in a row. Playing in tricky, windy conditions both days, the Red and Blue dropped the doubles point in both of the matches. Against Yale on Saturday, it proved to be a major setback for Penn as it never led throughout the contest and the Quakers eventually fell 5-2. It was a different story the next day against Brown. Trailing 3-1, the Red and Blue were victorious in the remaining three matches to upset the then-No. 54 ranked team in the country. The comeback was led by sophomore Nikola Kocovic, who won at No. 1, 6-4, 4-6, 6-2, and junior Rob Wong, who tied the score at three-all at No. 4 singles, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4. Sophomore Zach Katz sealed the victory for Penn at No. 5, defeating his opponent 6-2, 6-7(2), 6-1.
Freshman Jeremy Court was the lone Quaker to win both his singles matches on the weekend, and is currently 3-0 against Ancient Eight opponents. In addition, the New Rochelle, N.Y. native has a personal best seven-match winning streak and is 13-3 this spring and 19-5 overall to lead the team. His doubles partner, Katz, is second with 13 wins overall in singles, and 9-2 this spring. As a doubles pairing, they are tied with sophomores Kocovic and Ivan Turudic, both duos with eight wins and five losses in 2012.
A Year Ago
The Quakers dropped both matches against Harvard and Dartmouth at home last year. After sweeping all three doubles against Harvard, the Red and Blue was only able to muster one singles victory to fall 5-2 to the Crimson. Against the Big Green the next day, two of the three doubles matches went into a tiebreak, with Penn coming out on the wrong end in both of them. The doubles point proved to be the deciding factor in the match as Dartmouth edged out the Quakers, 4-3. Phil Law was the only player to go 2-0 on the weekend.
The Series with Harvard
Overall Series: Penn has a 12-74 record against the Crimson
First Meeting: 1912, Penn defeated Harvard, 3-2
Last Meeting: April 9, 2011, Harvard beat Penn, 5-2, at the Lott Tennis Courts
Last Penn Win: April 13, 2007, Penn won 4-3 at home and it was the first time Penn had defeated Harvard since 1974. Both teams had entered the match undefeated in the Ivies and Penn went on to become Ivy League Co-Champs with Columbia that year.
-Dating back to 1974, the Quakers have only defeated the Crimson once in their last 43 chances.
-Harvard has taken the last six matchups against Penn. The longest streak for the Crimson was 36 victories in a row from 1975-2006.
-The 12 wins overall against Harvard are the fewest against any Ancient Eight opponent in Penn school history.
Harvard (17-2, 1-1 Ivy) is the highest ranked Ivy League school in the ITA rankings at No. 24, and was as high as No. 16 earlier this season. Last week, the Crimson split its Ivy League opening weekend against Cornell and No. 37 Columbia. After shutting out the Big Red on Saturday, Harvard was downed 5-2 by the Lions on Sunday. The loss was Harvard's second of the season, having only lost to then-No. 27 Indiana (Harvard was No. 66 in the rankings at that time), also by a 5-2 score. Freshman Denis Nguyen was the lone player to win both his singles matches against Cornell and Columbia, improving his record to 23-7 overall this 2011-12 season.
On top of that, the Crimson has three other freshmen that have helped to lead the team to one of its most successful seasons so far in school history. Nguyen, along with Shaun Chaudhuri (26-7), Henry Steer (23-7), and Alex Steinroeder (22-9) are regulars in four of the six singles spots in Harvard's lineup. Nguyen also partners with junior Andy Nguyen (no relation) to play primarily at No. 2 doubles and lead the team with a 21-6 record. In addition, the Crimson's No. 1 doubles tandem of sophomore Casey MacMaster and senior Alistair Felton are currently ranked 63rd nationally, and are 17-8 overall together.
During the fall, there was only one encounter between the Crimson and Quakers; that coming between sophomore Ivan Turudic and senior Jonathan Pearlman at the ITA Regionals. Turudic claimed the 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 victory in that meeting and a re-match could be on the horizon this weekend.
The Series with Dartmouth
Overall Series: Penn holds a 41-39-1 lead against the Big Green
First Meeting: 1914, Penn defeated Dartmouth, 5-0
Last Meeting: April 10, 2011, Dartmouth beat Penn, 4-3, at the Lott Tennis Courts
Last Penn Win: April 10, 2009, Penn crushed the Big Green 6-1 at home, for its only win in the Ivy League that season.
-Dartmouth has won the last two years against the Quakers. Prior to take, the Red and Blue had won seven in a row from 2004-2009.
No. 62 Dartmouth enters the weekend with a 15-2 record overall and 1-1 in the conference. The Big Green is also coming off of a split of its matches last week against No. 37 Columbia and Cornell. The 5-2 loss to the Lions snapped Dartmouth's seven-match winning streak, and was only its second loss since getting beat by No. 24 Harvard, 4-2, at the ECAC Championships back in February. On Sunday, the Big Green rebounded nicely to edge out Cornell, 4-3.
Senior Chris Ho was the only player to go 2-0 on the weekend, and is currently on a nine-match winning streak. Freshman Chris Kipouras leads the team with a 23-5 record overall, followed by Cameron Ghorbani who has a 21-5 record. A couple of Quakers and Big Green players did meet up in some tournaments during the fall. Ghorbani took out Court in the first round, 7-6(6), 6-1, at the USTA NTC Invitational. Dartmouth's junior Alex Centenari also defeated Turudic 6-4, 6-4 in the quarterfinals at the same tournament.