PHILADELPHIA - After hosting a string of three consecutive nationally ranked teams to start off the Ivy League season, women's tennis will now hit the road against two more nationally ranked opponents in pursuit of its first Ivy League victory of the season. The Quakers will travel to No. 55 Harvard (7-6, 2-0 Ivy) on Saturday for a 2 p.m. match and make the trip to No. 75 Dartmouth (10-7, 2-0 Ivy) on Sunday for the 12:30 match.
A year ago, Penn hosted both Dartmouth and Harvard and the two nationally ranked opponents defeated Penn early in the 2010 Ivy Season. Harvard started out the 2011 season slow, but has come on strong in the past couple of weeks as the team has risen into the national rankings. Nationally ranked Holly Cao is a perfect 11-0 on the spring season playing at the number one position. Kristen Norton (9-4) and Hideko Tachibana (8-4) also boast impressive records for the Crimson.
Although Penn and Harvard have not met in team competition this season, Connie Hsu has already knocked off three Crimson players during the fall season. Hsu owns victories in the fall over Cao, Tachibana, and Natalie Blosser. A likely rematch at the top position will occur between No. 97 Cao and No. 23 Hsu. In the fall season, Hsu defeated Cao (6-3, 6-2) to capture the William & Mary Invitational. No other Penn players have played a Harvard opponent on the season. Hsu and senior captain Alexa Ely also picked up a win against Hannah Morrill and Blosser in the ITA Regional tournament in the lone doubles matches between the two schools.
Dartmouth is also coming into the match after defeating both Cornell and Columbia in its first two Ivy League matchups. In singles play, Penn and Dartmouth matched up three times during the fall season. Hsu picked up a 6-0, 6-0 victory over Molly Scott in the ITA Regional semi-finals, while Emma Whitfield picked up a tight victory over Jeri Reichel of Dartmouth (7-5, 7-6 (5)). There were no meetings between the two schools in doubles so far this season.
In doubles play for Penn, Hsu and Ely have combined for 11 wins in the spring season and 25 victories overall. The duo has been beaten just three times and two of those losses were during the fall season. Stephanie Do and Whitfield also have four victories as a team in doubles competition.
Hsu will be looking for her 40th victory of the season in doubles play this weekend, needing just one more victory to reach that milestone. Jaime Yapp-Shing and Whitfield also have double digit win totals on the season with 13 and 11 victories respectively in singles play. Lauren Bridges will be looking to add another member to that group as she enters the weekend with nine victories in the fall and spring together.
Daniela DePaoli, Do, and Ely can also reach double digits in wins the weekend if they win both of their individual matches as these three enter the weekend with eight victories over the season.
After this weekend's action, Penn will have just two more Ivy League matches. The Quakers will also be on the road next week as the team travels to Columbia on April 15 and it will return home for the regular season finale against Cornell on Sunday, April 17.