Hanover, N.H. -- With the winter weather delaying the ECAC Division I Men’s Indoor Championship, the University of Pennsylvania men’s tennis team played their first match of the weekend on Saturday, instead of Friday at Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H. The Quakers also did not play a third match as originally planned, so the team could be back in Philadelphia for the start of the week.
Up first for the Red and Blue was Harvard, which was seeded as the number one team in the tournament. The Crimson took the doubles point, but the No. 3 duo – sophomore Austin Kaplan and freshman Thomas Spratt – defeated Harvard’s pairing of Christo Schultz and Conor Haughey, 6-5 (4).
Penn tied the score at one a piece after the conclusion of the first singles match with a win from freshman Matt Nardella over Crimson Alex Stenroeder at the No. 4 spot (6-1, 6-4). Shortly after, Harvard took the lead again with a win in the No. 3 spot and went on the defeated the Quakers, 4-1.
On Sunday, the Red and Blue squared off with Brown, the No. 5 seeded team in the tournament, at 11 a.m. Penn was off to a great start after taking its first doubles point of the spring season, with wins in the No. 1 spot and No. 2 spot. Senior Nikola Kocovic and Nardella were first to put one in the win column for the Red and Blue. The veteran-rookie pairing defeated Bears Justin To and Lucas Da Silveira, 6-4. The second win for the Quakers came from the pairing of another veteran-rookie duo, senior Zach Katz and Marshall Sharp, who won the match in a tie breaker, 6-5 (4).
Brown didn’t stop fighting, as Bear Greg Garcia took the first singles match victory at the No. 3 slot. They then took a 2-1 lead with a second win, at the No. 5 spot. However, Penn was ready for the fight as Katz tied the score at two a piece with his victory over Brown’s Ivan Kravtchenko at the No. 6 slot.
The back-and-forth battle ensued, and the Bears took the lead once again with a win at the No. 1 spot. However, the score was once again even at 3-all within five minutes, after sophomore Vim De Alwis -- in the No. 2 slot -- defeated Brown’s Will Spector (6-1, 6-5 (3)).
Now, it was all riding on the last match in the No. 4 flight, where Nardella and Bear Sam Fife were battling it out. Fife took the first set, 6-4, and Nardella won the second, 6-1. It came down to the third set, but Nardella finished on top, winning 6-4, helping the Red and Blue to their first victory of the spring season.
The Quakers will be back in action this weekend, when they travel to State College to take on Penn State at noon on Saturday. Penn will then return home for a matchup with Illinois State on Sunday in Levy at 10 a.m.