CHICAGO – It was a tough weekend for Penn men’s tennis, as they faced off against some of the best teams in the nation, at the 2007 USTA/ITA Men's Team Indoor Championships in Chicago. The No. 16 seeded Quakers earned their berth when the won the ECAC championships this fall.
The first team that Penn faced was the toughest one at the tournament: No. 1 Georgia. They cruised into the No. 1 in both the nation and the tournament, after dominating the SEC championships this fall. The Bulldogs are one of the country’s most successful collegiate tennis programs in the past 18 years. Since 1989, Georgia is 404-93, and has had 53 All-Americans on the squad, more than any other team in the country. They’re undefeated so far this season, and boast some of the strongest players in the nation.
That skill showed when they took on Penn. Despite tough play from the Quakers, Georgia got the 4-0 win.
The Bulldogs took an early lead, winning the doubles point, and going up 1-0. Matic Omerzel and Travis beat Mikhail Bekker and Brandon O'Gara in the No. 2 doubles spot, while Jamie Hunt and Nate Schnugg beat Justin Fox and Jonathan Boym in the No. 3 spot, 8-3, to take the point. Jason Pinsky and Joseph Lok were keeping close to John Isner and Luis Flores, as the Bulldogs led 6-5, but the match was suspended when the point was won.
In singles, losses at the No. 3, 5, and 6 spots sealed the loss for Penn. Bekker lost to Helgeson at No. 3, 6-4, 6-2. Fox lost to Schnugg in the No. 5 spot, 6-2, 6-2, and O’Gara lost to Hunt at No. 6, 6-2, 6-2. In the matches that did not get to finish, the Quakers were playing well. At No. 1 singles, Pinsky lost the first set to Isner, 6-4, but was leading in the second set, 6-5, when the match was called. Boym had won the first set in the No. 2 spot against Flores, 6-3, and was tied in the second set, 5-5, but did not get a chance to seal the win. And Lok had won the first set against Omerzel at No. 4, 6-3, but lost the second set, 6-3.
With the loss, the Quakers moved to the consolation bracket, while Georgia continued to advance towards the finals.
Final Score: Georgia 4, Penn 0
1) Jason Pinsky (Penn) vs. John Isner (Georgia) – 4-6, 6-5, DNF
2) Jonathan Boym (Penn) vs. Luis Flores (Georgia) – 6-3, 5-5, DNF
3) Travis Helgeson (Georgia) def. Mikhail Bekker (Penn), 6-4, 6-2
4) Joseph Lok (Penn) vs. Matic Omerzel (Georgia) – 6-3, 3-6, DNF
5) Nate Schnugg (Georgia) def. Justin Fox (Penn) – 6-2, 6-2
6) Jamie Hunt (Georgia) def. Brandon O'Gara (Penn) – 6-2, 6-2
1) Jason Pinsky/Joseph Lok (Penn) vs. John Isner/Luis Flores (Georgia) - 5-6, DNF
2) Matic Omerzel/Tavis Helgeson (Georgia) def. Mikhail Bekker/Brandon O'Gara (Penn), 8-4
3) Jamie Hunt/Nate Schnugg (Georgia) def. Justin Fox/Jonathan Boym (Penn), 8-3
In their second day of play, the Quakers took on the No. 8 seed, Notre Dame, who had also lost in their first day of match action.
The Fighting Irish took the doubles points, with two wins at No. 1 and No. 2. Ryan Keckley and Sheeva Parbhu beat Pinsky and Eric Riley, 8-6, while Brett Helgeson and Barry King beat Bekker and O’Gara at No. 2, 8-4. Fox and Boym were in a tiebreaker with Andrew Roth and Stephen Bass, 7-8, when the point was determined.
During singles, losses at No. 1, No. 3 and No. 4 were the ones that did the Quakers in. Pinsky lost to Bass at No. 1, 6-2, 6-4, while Bekker lost to Helgeson at No. 3, 6-2, 6-3. And Lok lost in the No. 4 spot to Keckley, 6-1, 6-2.
Boym held his own at No. 2, as he lost in the first set, 7-6(3), but was winning 1-0 in the second. Fox was also leading in the second, 4-3, after losing in the first, 6-3. And freshman Adam Schwartz had lost the first set, 6-2, and was battling back in the second, down 5-4.
Final Score: Notre Dame 4, Penn 0
1) Stephen Bass (ND) def. Jason Pinsky (Penn), 6-2, 6-4
2) Jonathan Boym (Penn) vs. Sheeva Parbhu (ND), 6-7(3), 1-0, DNF
3) Brett Helgeson (ND) def. Mikhail Bekker (Penn), 6-2, 6-3
4) Ryan Keckley (ND) def. Joseph Lok (Penn), 6-1, 6-2
5) Justin Fox (Penn) vs. Barry King (ND), 3-6, 4-3, DNF
6) Adam Schwartz (Penn) vs. Andrew Roth (ND), 2-6, 4-5, DNF
1) Keckley/Parbhu (ND) def. Pinsky/Riley (Penn), 8-6
2) Helgeson/King (ND) def. Bekker/O’Gara (Penn), 8-4
3) Fox/Boym (Penn) vs. Bass/Roth (ND), 8-8, DNF
And in action on Sunday, Feb. 18, Penn lost to Boise State, 4-1. It was the closest match the Quakers were in all weekend. The deciding win came at No. 6 singles, where Steve Robertson beat Eric Riley, 6-4, 7-6 (7-5).
The doubles point was up in the air from the start, as Pinsky and Riley won at No. 1, 8-6. Fox and Boym lost at No. 3, 8-6, and the point came down to Bekker and O’Gara’s match at No. 2. They ended up losing, 8-3, and the Broncos got the point. In singles, the first loss came at No. 3, where Bekker lost to Piotr Dilaj, 6-0, 6-2. Then Schwartz lost at No. 5, 6-1, 6-2. Boym got Penn’s only point of the weekend, as he beat Clancy Shields in the No. 2 spot, 6-3, 7-5. Riley’s loss at No. 6 sealed the win for Boise, but both the No. 1 and No. 4 matches were close, so it could have been anyone’s game. Pinsky had lost the first set at No. 1, to Luke Shields, 6-4, but battled back to win the second set, 7-5. When the match was called, Shields had a 2-1 lead in the third set. Fox was also doing well at No. 4 against Blake Boswell. He had lost the first set, 6-3, but battled back to take the second set, 6-4. And Fox was down by only one game in the third set, 3-2, when the match ended.
Up next, the Quakers will face the Broncos again, as they travel to Boise State on Saturday, March 3 for a 1 p.m. match-up.
FINAL SCORE: Boise State 4, Penn 1
1) Jason Pinsky (Penn) vs. Luke Shields (Boise), 4-6, 7-5, 2-1, DNF
2) Jonathan Boym (Penn) def. Clancy Shields (Boise), 6-3, 7-5
3) Piotr Dilaj (Boise) def. Mikhail Bekker (Penn), 6-0, 6-2
4) Justin Fox (Penn) vs. Blake Boswell (Boise), 3-6, 6-4, 2-3, DNF
5) Brent Werbeck (Boise) def. Adam Schwartz (Penn), 6-1, 6-2
6) Steve Robertson (Boise) def. Eric Riley (Penn), 6-4, 7-6 (7-5)
1) Pinsky/Riley (Penn) def. Robertson/C. Shields (Boise), 8-6
2) Dilaj/L. Shields (Boise) def. Bekker/O’Gara (Penn), 8-3
3) Boswell/Roberson (Boise) def. Fox/Boym (Penn), 8-6