PHILADELPHIA – Penn heads into the final weekend of men’s tennis action with a chance to finish the season with a pair of wins as well as play spoiler for teams looking to capture the Ivy title.
Along the way, the team will celebrate its lone graduating senior, captain Jonathan Boym, during Sunday’s match with Cornell.
Before taking on the Big Red, Penn will travel to New York City to play Ancient Eight-leading Columbia. The Lions are 4-1 in the league and a win will clinch a share of the conference championship for Columbia. The Lions are 14-5 overall and have won 10 of their last 13 matches. Jon Wong has played the majority of Columbia’s matches at the No. 1 spot, compiling a record of 9-4. Bogdan Borta is 7-4 when playing No. 2. Mihai Nichifor is 13-2 at No. 3, giving Columbia a solid presence at the top of the ladder. In doubles, Columbia is 34-18 overall.
Penn will look to counter with its own deep lineup. Three Quakers have won over 20 matches this season and three are in double digits in dual play. The top of the overall win chart is owned by a pair of freshman in Phil Law and Jason Lin. Both rookies have won 22 matches in 2008-09. Lin is also tied for the lead in dual wins with Hicham Laalej as each has won 12 times in dual matches. Adam Schwartz is 20-12 overall with half of those wins coming in duals. The key for this group is the versatility and range they bring to the table. Besides Laalej, who has played all 19 of his dual matches at the No. 1 position, the other three big winners for Penn have played a range of spots in coach Nike DeVore’s lineup. Schwartz has suited up anywhere from No. 1 to No. 3 while Law ha splayed No2. 2-4 and Lin has played Nos. 2-6. Each has settled into a role towards the end of the season, with Schwartz playing at No. 3, Law at No. 4 and Lin and No. 5. Justen Roth has solidified his place at No. 6 with a 7-5 record.
That leaves us to talk about the No. 2 position. That role has been associated with Jonathan Boym in 2009, as the senior has battled his way through a shoulder injury to a 7-4 record in duals after playing just one match in the fall (which, of course, he won). Boym, the 2006 Ivy League Rookie of the Year, is a two-time captain of the Red and Blue. In 2006 he was named second-team All-Ivy and he followed that up with a first-team All-Ivy performance in 2007. He is 58-18 overall throughout his four years at Penn and was a member of two Ivy League championship teams.
On Sunday, Penn will play a Big Red team that also has an outside shot at an Ivy title. Cornell is 3-2 in the league, and a sweep of the weekend will put them in a position, that with a little help could end in a championship.
The Quakers defeated Cornell earlier this season at the ECAC Championships, 4-3. Cornell won the doubles point, but Penn scored four singles wins – including wins at Nos. 1-3 for the victory. Three of the singles matches went three sets, with the longest match a Jeremy Feldman win over Phil Law at No. 4, 4-6, 7-5, 10-8.
Both matches start at 2 p.m.