The Penn women’s tennis team starts off its spring season on Saturday with a
pair of matches. The first half of the doubleheader begins at noon as the
Quakers face off against a very young Lehigh team that is coming off a tough
2012 spring. In the afternoon match, set to start at 4 p.m., the Red and Blue
match up with Big 5 rival Saint Joseph’s, who finished last season with a 2-9
conference record in the Atlantic 10.
In addition to making their spring season debut, the Quakers
have a young doubles pair that took the ITA by storm this fall. Currently
ranked first in the Northeast region, and No. 14 in the country, Sonya
Latycheva and Sol Eskenazi will have large targets on their backs all season
long. The freshman and sophomore duo posted a 10-2 record in the fall, and
advanced all the way to the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate
Championships, where they went 2-2 and made the consolation semi-finals.
Head coach Sanela Kunovac is looking forward to having more
time to work with these two budding stars, and is not shy about her NCAA
aspirations for the young duo either.
Penn has never lost to Lehigh, posting an overall 13-0 edge
in the all-time series – the Quakers are 10-0 at home against the Mountain
Hawks in a series that dates back to the 1985 season. The last time these two
teams met was on March 15 of last season at the Hamlin Tennis Center. The Red
and Blue demolished Lehigh, 7-0, giving them a run of six straight shutouts in
Co-captains Stephanie Do and Jules Rodin will lead the way
along with Eskenazi in the singles draw. Rodin, after seeing no action in the
fall, will make her debut in the spring and look to start off her final
campaign as a Quaker with a win.
In doubles, along with the Eskenazi-Latycheva pair, the duo
of Alex Ion and Jaime Yapp-Shing will contribute after a successful fall in
which they posted a 3-1 record together. But according to Kunovac, she will mix
up the pairings all season.
Despite their closeness in proximity, the Quakers and Hawks have
only faced each other twice, and not since 2011. Both matches took place at the
Levy Tennis Pavilion – both ended, 7-0, in favor of Penn. Although Saint
Joseph’s did not have the most successful season in 2012, they had a rather
promising fall, suggesting they may present a bit of a challenge for the Red