FLUSHING, N.Y. – The Penn men’s tennis team ended the non-conference portion of its schedule on a good note, taking down St. John’s by a score of 5-2 at the National Tennis Center. Undefeated in home matches this season, the Quakers were finally able to win their first road match of the 2013 season to improve to 8-5.
As has been the case in six of their previous seven wins, an opening point in doubles helped spark Penn going into singles. Getting that opening point off the Red Storm wasn’t easy though. The No. 1 doubles pairing was the first to finish, with Valentin Mihai and Mike Lampa of St. John’s holding off Nikola Kocovic and Mark Milbrandt, 8-6. It took a win at No.3 from Jeremy Court and Kyle Roth, 8-6, to keep the Quakers alive. All eyes then turned to No. 2, where Austin Kaplan and Zach Katz gutted out a 9-7 victory to put Penn on top.
The lead was quickly negated as Vasko Mladenov put the finishing touches on a 6-2, 6-2 win at No. 1 singles, and Lampa defeated Katz at No. 4 singles, 6-3, 6-2, putting the Red Storm on top, 2-1. Court leveled the score once again with a come-from-behind 4-6, 6-3, 6-1 victory over Mihai at No. 2, tying the match at 2-2.
From there, the Quakers were able to dig deep and come away with the necessary games to put St. John’s away. Ismael Lahlou won an important first-set tiebreak on his way to a 7-6, 6-3 win at No.3 singles, reestablishing the Penn lead, 3-2. Blaine Willenborg wrapped up the win with a marathon victory at No. 5 singles, taking a 7-6, 5-7, 11-9 decision over Hugo Morth to get the fourth point for the Red and Blue. Vim De Alwis ended the day at No. 6, winning 6-1, 3-6, 6-2 over Michael-John Every.
Penn resumes action next weekend as they open Ivy League play at Princeton in a 2 p.m. match from the Lenz Tennis Center.
1. Mihai/Lampa (STJ) def. Kocovic/Milbrandt (P); 8-6
2. Kaplan/Katz (P) def. Every/Mladenov (STJ); 9-7
3. Court/Roth (P) def. Morth/Mark Mozer (STJ); 8-6
Order of Finish: 1,3,2
1. Mladenov (STJ) def. Kocovic (P); 6-2, 6-2
2. Court (P) def. Mihai (STJ); 4-6, 6-3, 6-1
3. Lahlou (P) def. Mozer (STJ); 7-6, 6-3
4. Lampa (STJ) def. Katz (P); 6-3, 6-2
5. Willenborg (P) def. Morth (STJ); 7-6, 5-7, 11-9
6. De Alwis (P) def. Every (STJ); 6-1, 3-6, 6-2
Order of Finish: 1,4,2,3,5,6