PHILADELPHIA – If you are a Philadelphia-based collegiate men’s tennis team, the last place you want to find yourself is Levy Pavilion and the last team you wan standing on the opposite side of the net is Penn.
The Quakers dispatched Saint Joseph’s on Wednesday night, 6-1, for their third win of the season over a Philly rival. The Hawks were the only team of the three to score a point against Penn, needing a third-set tiebreaker win at No. 6 singles to do so.
“Anytime you beat a local rival, that is a good thing,” head coach Nik DeVore said. “It is important to defend your home turf. We play these local teams every year and it is important to play well in these matches.”
The Quakers came out with a varying doubles lineup, but were able to win the all-important doubles point, 3-0. While injuries may have forced DeVore to mix and match his doubles pairs, he sees no problem in that at this stage of the season.
“Doubles has been a concern for us lately.” He said. “Half of it is staying healthy. At the same time, this allows us to keep guys fresh and involved. When the Ivy season comes around, we need everyone ready to go. That first doubles point is vital in league play.”
In singles, Penn took the pace of play to Saint Joseph’s, winning four of its five singles matches in straight sets. In those four matches, only one of the eight sets saw the Saint Joseph’s player win three games. Penn’s fifth win came from Jason Lin at No. 4 singles. He rallied from a tough second-set loss in a tiebreaker to win the third set, 10-1, over Jeff Kessler in the final match on the courts.
DeVore was please with how his singles players are progressing at this point in the season.
“Jonathan Boym played really well today,” he said. “He won his first set pretty handily. Justen Roth has been on fire lately. He has just been taking care of business. Hicham, at No. 1, rebounded from struggling in a win on Sunday and played better today. He is slowly building momentum.”
The Quakers have a much-deserved week off from competition after six matches in the last two weeks. Then the team heads to California for its Spring Break trip. DeVore feels the team is excited to hit the road and play some of the toughest competition in the country.
“This will be a great chance for the team to bond as we travel the country,” he said. “I have always felt that a team really comes together when it spends time on the road. We will pull together and fight for each other point-by-point in some hostile places. That will prepare us for our ultimate goal – an Ivy championship.”
Penn def. Saint Joseph’s, 6-1
No.1 Hicham Laalej/Jason Lin (Penn) def. Phil Bayliss/ Michael Stauble (SJU), 8-6
No. 2 Justen Roth/Alex Vasin (Penn) def. Pat Adams/Jeff Kessler (SJU), 8-1
No. 3 Dmitry Bury/Zach Gorn (Penn) def. Kevin Aquino/Peter Cognetti (SJU), 8-6
Penn Wins Doubles Point, 3-0
No. 1 Hicham Laalej (Penn) def. Pat Adams (SJU), 6-1, 6-2
No. 2 Jonathan Boym (Penn) def. Phil Bayliss (SJU), 6-1, 6-2
No. 3 Alex Vasin (Penn) def. Michael Stauble (SJU), 6-3, 6-1
No. 4 Jason Lin (Penn) def. Jeff Kessler (SJU), 6-3, 6-7(5), 10-1
No. 5 Justen Roth (Penn) def. Matt Prusak (SJU), 6-2, 6-2
No. 6 Peter Cognetti (SJU) def. Jeffrey Karsh (Penn), 6-2, 3-6, 10-7