PHILADELPHIA – The University of Pennsylvania men’s tennis team will begin its quest for an Ivy League title on Saturday, as the Quakers kick-off their spring dual-match season. Penn will welcome the Navy Midshipmen to town for a 1 p.m. start at the Hecht Tennis Center.
The Quakers are coming off a successful fall season in which they competed at four invitationals, experiencing match action against some of the best players in the region. Freshman Kyle Mautner burst onto the scene, and was especially impressive at the ITA Northeast Regional in October.
The rookie put together an impressive run to the semifinals, before falling in three sets to the top overall seed and reigning Ivy League Player of the Year, Dovydas Sakinis (Dartmouth). Mautner didn’t drop a set until the quarterfinals, and defeated three Ivy League foes. Overall, Mautner went 9-4 in singles action, and in turn was ranked No. 6 in the Northeast in the first ITA singles’ rankings of the season.
Sophomore Josh Pompan was also slotted in the first singles’ rankings of 2016 at No. 18. Like Mautner, Pompan impressed at the ITA Regional, stringing together a pair of wins and reaching the Round of 16. Despite also falling to Sakinis, Pompan defeated Binghamton’s Eliott Hureau (6-3, 6-4) -- before needing three sets to dispose of Cornell’s Chris Vrabel (3-6, 7-6, 6-4). Pompan went 9-4 in singles matches during the fall.
Overall, the Quakers return seven primary contributors from a team that earned its most wins since 2006 (14), including senior captains, Austin Kaplan and Vim De Alwis. Due to injury, De Alwis did not compete in Ivy League matches last year.
Also last season, the Red and Blue registered their best start to a spring since 2011 (6-0) and the highest national ranking in program history at No. 39.
Following the tussle with Navy, the Quakers will head west to take on East Tennessee State and Washington next weekend in Seattle. Other notable non-conference matchups for the Red and Blue include No. 22 San Diego (3/10), No. 38 San Diego State (3/11), No. 41 New Mexico (2/21), and No. 51 Denver (3/6).
Penn will begin Ivy League action on April 2, hosting the Yale Bulldogs.
Projected Lineup (Fall Record)
1. Kyle Mautner (9-4)
2. Vim De Alwis (4-9)
3. Dmitry Shatalin (DNP in fall)
4. Josh Pompan (9-4)
5. Matt Nardella (0-1)
6. Blaine Willenborg (7-4)
1. Nicholai Westergaard/Mautner (0-4)
2. De Alwis/Nardella (0-0)
3. Austin Kaplan/Willenborg (0-0)