Women's Tennis Edged by Dartmouth, 4-3
PHILADELPHIA - Less the 24 hours after the epic comeback victory against Harvard, women's tennis was back in action on Sunday against Dartmouth. From a tennis perspective, this match was nearly as entertaining as once again the team score hinged on the very last singles match to finish play. Although Penn was not able to pull off its second straight 4-3 victory, the team put a scare into the defending Ivy League Champions and showed that it is continuing to close the gap with the top-tier teams in the Ivy League.
For the day, the Quakers won five of the nine matches that were contested, but three of those wins came in the sweep of doubles and therefore only counted for the one point.
Penn came out on fire in the doubles competition. At No. 3, Stephanie Do and Emma Whitfield, fresh off of capping the team victory with the last two singles wins yesterday, came out with an equal intensity on Sunday. They broke early and went up 3-0 before taking five of the next seven games after that in the 8-2 win. This was their third win of the year together and the first of the Ivy League season.
Sol Eskenazi and Jules Rodin, the 38th-ranked pairing in the country, capped off their perfect 2-0 weekend of Ivy League play, but their win was not as easy as some. The No. 1 doubles teams split the first 16 games and had to go to a tiebreak to secure the win. Penn's top pairing is now 9-3 this year, including a 3-2 mark in the Ivies.
Playing together for the second straight day, Alex Ion and Srinidhi Raghavan played another back-and-forth match at No. 2 doubles. Today, they split the first 14 games with their opponents before taking the final two games to clinch a sweep of the doubles matches for Penn. These two are now 3-3 together dating back to the fall. This was the first Ivy doubles win for both.
Moving into singles play, Eskenazi put Penn up 2-0 with her win at No. 1. The freshman allowed just one game in the first set and only two more in the second for her most convincing individual win of the Ivy season. She has now won 11 matches this spring, 18 overall, including a 4-1 mark at No. 1 in the league matches.
The visiting Big Green would tie the match with wins at No. 4 and No. 6. At No. 4, Daniela DePaoli took three games in the opening set and another game in the second set before falling. Coming off the win against Harvard that helped seal the win yesterday, Whitfield gained two games in her match at No. 6, but Dartmouth evened the match at two-all.
At No. 5 singles, Raghavan would force a tiebreak in the second set by splitting those 12 games evenly, 6-6, after losing the first, 6-3. In the tiebreak, the freshman won three points, but her opponent captured the win to put Dartmouth on the brink of victory.
Just like yesterday, Penn found themselves down 3-2 in the team score with two matches heading to third sets. Do fell in her first set, 6-3, while Ion dropped her opening set, 6-4. With first set losses in these two sets, Eskenazi was the only Quaker to win an opening set in singles. Needing two wins to keep the chances of a team victory alive, Penn's No. 2 and No. 3 each won their second sets, 6-4.
Despite playing her second pressure packed three-set match in consecutive days; Do cruised to the win in her final set, winning 6-2. Her victory improved her to 13-12 this season, including an 8-5 mark at No. 2. At No. 3, Penn and Dartmouth played the third straight 6-4 set at this spot. This time it was Dartmouth prevailing to seal the team win, 4-3.
After the heart-stopping weekend, the Quakers will be off until next Friday when Cornell comes to Philadelphia for a match at 2 p.m. Penn finishes up the regular season at Columbia next Sunday.
Dartmouth 4, Penn 3