PHILADELPHIA - The Quakers wrapped up their non-conference schedule last and looks to begin the crucial Ivy season this Saturday, when it takes on Princeton at 2 p.m. in Princeton.
Moving On Up
Penn (10-1) moved up in the ITA national polls from No. 64 last week after earning a hard-fought 4-3 victory over St. John's. The 11-1 Quakers are currently ranked 60th nationally, the highest ranking for the Red and Blue since 2007. Princeton, on the other hand, is ranked two spots below the Quakers, at No. 62, after being as high as No. 53 previously.
(Not) Déjà vu
Last season, Penn played Princeton close but ultimately fell by a 5-2 score. The Quakers lost the doubles point to open the match, however they stormed back to tie the overall match score at 2-2 with quick wins by junior Phil Law over Matija Pecotic, 6-0, 6-4, at No. 2, and sophomore Jason Magnes, 6-4, 6-1, at No. 5. However, three of the other four singles matches went into three sets, and the Quakers could not pull out the victory in the end. This time, the Red and Blue are hoping to turn the tables on the Tigers.
Scouting the Tigers
On the season, Princeton is 7-6 overall, and enters the matchup this Saturday on a three-game losing streak. All three games were on the team's spring break trip with the Tigers partaking in the San Diego Invitational. Prior to the trip, all of Princeton's losses were tight 4-3 scores, including one to St. John's.
At the top of the ladder, sophomores Matija Pecotic and Matt Spindler lead the team with eight wins each this spring. In the team's last match out west against Alabama-Birmingham, both were the only two singles player to win against their opponents to give Princeton its lone two points in its 2-5 loss. Senior Alex Faust was the only Tiger to have two wins on their spring break trip, narrowly missing going a perfect 3-0 in his last match, losing in a super-tiebreaker in the third set.
Princeton has already faced one Ivy League opponent so far, meeting up with Harvard at the ECAC Championships in February. The Tigers claimed third place in the event with the 6-1 victory over the Crimson. Last year, Princeton finished the Ivy season with a 4-3 record, good for fifth place in the conference.
Friday's matchup could present a couple of potential rematches from the fall season. One of those could be a showdown at the No. 1 doubles position. The freshmen tandem of Ivan Turudic and Zach Katz lost to the sophomore duo of Matija Pecotic and Matt Siow 6-8 in the quarterfinals of the ITA Regionals. The pair of Pecotic/Siow are a combined 13-5 in the 2010-2011 season, and 8-3 this spring at No. 1 doubles, compared to Turudic/Katz's 16-4 record overall and 3-3 mark at No. 1, but 3-0 at No. 2.
In singles, however, Turudic did defeat Pecotic in a tight three-set battle, 6-2, 1-6, 13-11, in the quarterfinals of the Columbia Classic, en route to Turudic's Flight A singles crown there. Another potential rematch in singles might be between senior captain Hicham Laalej and Matt Spindler. Laalej fell to Spindler in a hotly contested Round of 32 matchup, 6-7, 6-3, 5-7, at the ITA Regionals in October. Also at the same event, Phil Law easily took care of Siow in the Round of 16, 6-3, 6-4, before falling short in the quarterfinals, ending his nice run there.