PHILADELPHIA - The Penn men's tennis team will try to bring some home cooking with it on the road this weekend when they face the No. 26 Virginia Commonwealth Rams in a 12 p.m. match on Saturday from Richmond. The Quakers are undefeated at home in 2013 - going 7-0 in dual matches - but have not posted a win away from home.
Grabbing the first road win of the year won't be an easy task for the Quakers. VCU is 13-4 on the season, including an 11-0 mark at home. Two singles players are ranked in the top 100 nationally, led by Max Wennakoski, ranked 15th in all of Division I. Meanwhile, the Rams add a pair of doubles teams to the mix that are both national powers as well. Alexis Heugas and Dylan McCloskey are No. 20 in the nation, while Jamie Vazquez Catoira and Alejandro Argente come in at No. 55.
For the Quakers, either Jeremy Court or Nikola Kocovic are the likely candidates to stand up to the Rams at the top of the singles ladder. One of the two have played No. 1 singles in every match this season and have produced six wins against five losses on the season. Ismael Lahlou recently got his first taste of action at No. 2 singles. The Georgia State transfer will not be a stranger to the CAA opponent and, after losing two matches to open the spring, has reeled off nine straight wins. The overall team leader in wins thus far is Vim De Alwis. Between the fall and spring seasons, the highly-touted freshman has lived up to his billing with 19 victories in singles. Playing in the Nos. 5 or 6 position this spring, De Alwis has matched Lahlou with nine wins.
Saturday's match is the start of five straight on the road for the Quakers, who won't be home again until an Ivy League match with Dartmouth on April 13. Next up for the Red and Blue is a March 23 meeting with the Red Storm of St. John's. That match is set for 4 p.m. in Queens.