PHILADELPHIA - The women's tennis team saw huge improvements under second-year head coach Sanela Kunovac and her assistant Pavle Jefferson during the 2010-11 season. The Quakers won eight matches, which was double the team's final total from the 2009-10 season. Highlighting those eight victories were the last two as Penn picked up Ivy League victories against Columbia and Cornell to close out to the team portion of the season. Hungry for its first Ivy win of the season, the young squad was not going to be denied as it traveled to Ithaca and edged Cornell 4-3, before returning home and closing out the season strong with a 5-2 win against Columbia.
Freshman Connie Hsu made her presence on the team immediately felt in the fall when she advanced to the Round of 16 during the USTA/ITA Indoor Championships. In the spring, she earned both Ivy League Player and Rookie of the Year honors and earned the Ivy League's automatic bid into the NCAA Individual Championships. She would go 1-1 at the NCAA Championships that included a win over No. 5 Kristy Frilling of Notre Dame in the opening round. She finished her first season at Penn with a 44-3 record.
In addition to Hsu, four other players finished the season with 10 or more victories and others fell just short of that mark. Freshman Jaime Yapp-Shing finished second on the team in singles victories with 15 during her first year at Penn. Senior Alexa Ely and sophomore Emma Whitfield each added 11 victories in singles on the year, while freshman Lauren Bridges also had 10 wins in singles. Stephanie Do finished her first year at Penn with nine wins in singles, while junior Daniela DePaoli battled season-long injuries, but still came away with eight wins.
In doubles, Hsu teamed up with Ely and the duo combined for a 27-3 record when the two played together, including a perfect 7-0 mark in the Ivy League. For their combined efforts, Penn's top duo was named first-team All-Ivy in doubles. In all, Ely finished her senior campaign with 34 wins in doubles. Overall, doubles was definitely a strength of the Quakers' team. Penn won over 60 percent of the doubles matches that it played, going 56-36 combined in the fall and spring seasons.
In addition to Penn's top pairing, Jules Rodin, who was limited to doubles play with a season-long injury, paired up with Yapp-Shing for the Ivy season at No. 2 doubles, while Do and Whitfield finished the year at No. 3 doubles. The pairing of Yapp-Shing and Rodin won four matches together in the spring. Highlighting those victories were two doubles wins against Princeton and Columbia. Their doubles win at No. 2 in both of these matches helped clinch the doubles point for Penn. The pairing of Do and Whitfield also produced four wins at No. 3 doubles. They picked up a convincing 8-2 against Princeton, which allowed Penn to sweep the doubles in the first Ivy League match of the season.
The future is definitely looking bright for the women's team as seven underclassmen, five freshman and two sophomores, saw playing time on the young squad. However, Penn will look to replace its captain, Ely and Rose Schlecker. Ely finishes her four years at Penn with 37 singles victories and 51 wins in doubles. Schlecker was a member of the team for just the last two seasons, but still picked up five singles wins and was 4-1 in doubles during the past two years.
Below is a pair of photo galleries that highlight Penn's many achievements this year. The first photo gallery focuses on Hsu and her run in the NCAA tournament. The second photo gallery takes a look back at the entire season and the huge strides that were made.