PHILADELPHIA The Penn men’s tennis team is opening their Ivy League schedule at Princeton this Saturday at 2 p.m. The Quakers are 6-11 overall, and have been flirting with national rankings all season. Currently, the team is unranked, but their highest ranking came in January, when they held the No. 50 spot.
The Red and Blue’s record is deceiving since Penn has faced multiple teams at the top of the national rankings, including No. 5 Notre Dame, No. 17 Oklahoma State, and No. 1 Georgia. The Quakers have made it through the hardest part of their schedule, as almost every team they’ve faced so far has been a ranked one. The Quakers went 2-3 on their spring break trip beating No. 72 Utah and Oregon. Since then, they have lost to No. 25 Michigan and shut out both Navy and Army, 7-0.
This Ivy League opener has big implications for the Quakers. Last year, Penn split the Ivy League title with Brown and lost to the Bears, 3-4, in the Ivy League playoff match. Stakes are just as high this year, as the Red and Blue are gunning for a second straight title, and a shot at NCAAs.
Junior co-captain Jason Pinsky is confident in his team going into this Ivy League season.
“We have played some of the best teams in the country and have gained a lot of confidence proving that we can compete with the best,” said Pinsky. “We are excited for the challenge of defending our Ivy League championship, and feel that we have grown as a team since last season.”
Their opening match against No. 65 Princeton will be a good start to defending their title Last year, Penn beat Princeton 6-1, loosing only at number three singles. The core starting line up remains much the same this year for the Quakers, with the additions of junior Eric Riley and freshman Adam Schwartz. The Tigers are also returning their entire starting line-up, including Peter Capkovic, who will face Pinsky in the No. 1 singles spot. The two have already played each twice this season, splitting the wins. In September, Pinsky beat Capkovic, 6-2, 7-5, to win the Princeton Invitational. At ECACs just a week later, Capkovic took the win, 6-4, 2-6, (10-6).
Pinsky and his teammates are coming into the match with a positive attitude, ready to fight for the win.
“We need to come out with a lot of intensity,” Pinsky said. “We realize that everyone is gunning for us because we won the Ivies last year, and it’s important to show them that we are ready to defend the title."
The Quakers open their Ivy season at Princeton this Saturday at 2 p.m., but that’s only the beginning for Penn. After taking on the Tigers, they will travel to Yale next Friday, and then to take on co-champions Brown, in Providence on Saturday.
By Maria Anismova, W'10