PHILADELPHIA - It wasn't quite the way head coach Nik DeVore mapped out his first spring match at the helm of the Penn men's tennis team, but the detours the team took on its way to a 5-2 victory over 33rd Street rival Drexel may prove beneficial in the long run. Penn lost the doubles point before taking five of six singles matches to win the overall match.
"This is the perfect example of why you can't take any team lightly," DeVore said. Although Penn has historically dominated the Dragons, they fellbehind early, 1-0, when Drexel took the doubles point. Seniors Joseph Lok and Eric Riley won their match 8-5, but teams of Justin Fox/Jeffrey Karsh and Alex Vasin/Dmitry Bury fell.
As singles play started, it was Lok who quickly evened the score for the Quakers, winning his match 6-1 6-1. "Jo came up huge for us," said DeVore. "When the guys found out that he had evened the score for us, that really improved their confidence."
Justin Fox, Eric Riley and Justen Roth each won two-set matches to ensure victory for the Quakers, but the No. 1 match of Jonathan Boym and Drexel's Omar Laalej was yet to be decided. It came to a dramatic finish in front of a boisterous Philadelphia crowd as Boym took out Laalej, 3-6, 6-2 (11-9).
Boym, who was playing in his first match in eight months after sitting out all but one doubles set in the fall due to injury, took out the No. 8 player in the region when he defeated Laalej.
"I was really proud of the way Jonathan competed at No. 1," DeVore said. "Laalej is a strong player - one who is difficult to beat when a team is at full strength. Jonathan showed a lot of guts out there. When you know your No. 1 player is going to fight like that, it really helps to take the pressure off the other players."
The Quakers, now 1-0, are next in action on January 30 when they take onSaintJoseph'sat the Levy Pavilion. The match is set to start at 3 p.m.
Joseph Lok/Eric Riley def. Omar Laalej/Jason Savage-Pollock, 8-5
Carlo Pagilinan/Joe Koebele def. Justin Fox/Jeffrey Karsh, 9-7
Sabyasachi Bose/Nicholas Bacchus def. Alex Vasin/Dmitry Bury, 8-6
Drexel wins the doubles point.
1. Jonathan Boym def. Omar Laalej, 3-6, 6-2 (11-9)
2. Justin Fox def. Joe Koebele, 6-2, 6-1
3. Joseph Lok def. Carlo Pagilinan, 6-1, 6-1
4. Nicholas Bacchus def. Alex Vasin, 6-4, 7-6
5. Eric Riley def. Jason Savage-Pollock, 6-2, 6-0
6. Justen Roth def. Gaurav Parikh, 6-1, 6-2.
Penn wins overall, 5-2.