The Penn men’s tennis team opens its fall schedule Friday at the Virginia Invitational in Charlottesville, Va. For newly-hired head coach Nik DeVore, the tournament offers a first chance to see his team in action against top competition.
“This is a great chance for us to learn about the team,” said DeVore. “The first road trip of the fall is always a great experience for team bonding. It brings the team together and gives us a chance to get to know each other.”
More importantly, DeVore cited the fall as being a crucial time to “evaluate players and see what our best lineup is going to be. The most important thing about the fall season is that we want to see improvement and development going into the ECAC Tournament.”
DeVore, who was introduced as the new head coach on August 14, said that he is relying on senior leadership from players such as Jason Pinsky to help get the team together.
“They are really improving the team dynamic,” DeVore said of his seniors. “Thus far, they have done a great job.”
For Pinsky, the fall schedule will be about more than development and team building. Currently ranked No. 59 in the nation, Pinsky will have a chance to improve his standing and put himself in a position to make the NCAA Tournament for a second consecutive year.
The Virginia Invitational offers a strong opening to the fall schedule. “This is one of the premier fall college tournaments in the nation,” DeVore said. “With some of the top-ranked talent in the nation, this will be a real challenge and a great opportunity.”
Settling into his new position at Penn, DeVore expressed excitement to be a part of what he considers to be one of the “ultimate sports schools.”
“I have always admired the Ivy League schools for their philosophy when it comes to athletics,” DeVore said. “And the vibe at Penn is unlike any other Ivy League school. This is a great campus in the middle of a great city. I think we can attract a lot of strong athletes to this environment.”
The Virginia Invitational is the first of four events for the Quakers this fall. The Princeton Invitational comes next, followed by the ECAC Tournament, won the last two years by Penn. ITA Regionals at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va. closes out the fall schedule.