PHILADELPHIA - The Quakers first match back from spring break takes place on Friday, when they battle the St. John's at the National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y. at 2 p.m.
Back in the Rankings
The Quakers fell out of the ITA polls last week after being ranked No. 71 the week before spring break. Following a 1-1 mark against some tough competition during spring break the Red and Blue once again found themselves in the national rankings - this time as the 64th team in the country.
Three other Ivy League schools are also currently ranked. Cornell continues to lead the way, dropping to No. 47 now however. Princeton follows at No. 53 and Dartmouth enters the rankings this week at No. 71. Brown and Columbia were previously ranked in the polls, but have since fallen off.
The Red and Blue (9-1) went 1-1 on its spring break trip in California. After suffering its first loss of the season at the hands of Santa Clara, 6-1. Penn rebounded nicely the following day to defeat Pacific 4-3. Senior captain Hicham Laalej held strong at No. 1 singles and was the only Quaker to go a perfect 2-0 on the trip. With the wins, Laalej picked up his 10th and 11th victories of the 2010-11 season and remains undefeated (8-0) at the first position this spring.
Penn took two out of three doubles matches against Pacific to give itself the early lead. The freshmen duo of Zach Katz and Ivan Turudic played at No. 1 and defeated their Pacific opponents by a score of 8-4 for their 16th overall win together. In singles, junior Jason Lin (No. 5) and sophomore Jason Magnes (No. 6) provided the other two points for Penn, in which Magnes's match clinched the victory for the Quakers and Lin's win was his 10th overall in 2010-11. Both Jasons are 3-1 this spring in their respective singles spots.
Scouting the Red Storm
St. John's enters Friday's contest against the Quakers with an 8-4 record overall. In their last outing, the Red Storm lost its Big East conference season opener to the University of South Florida on Sunday 5-2. The only two points for St. John's came from sophomore Mike Lampa at No. 4 and fellow classmate Matty Najfeld at No. 5. Najfeld's easy 6-1, 6-1 victory improves him to a team-best 10-2 this spring and a 3-1 mark at the No. 5 position.
Last year, the Quakers and Red Storm met on Penn's home courts. Even though the result was a 5-2 St. John's win, the match was tight and lasted over four hours. The Red and Blue dropped two of the three doubles matches by close scores, 8-6 and 9-7, which ultimately hurt the Quakers in the end. Penn's two lone points were from juniors Eugen Brazdil defeating Pavel Cerny at No. 1 singles 7-5, 6-4 and Phil Law besting Bojic in the No. 3 spot, 7-5, 5-7, 6-1.
In the fall, players from the two schools matched up multiple times in various tournaments. Hicham Laalej beat Michael Lampa at the USTA Invitational, 3-6, 6-4, 10-8. Ivan Turudic faced two of them at the Columbia Classic en route to his Flight A singles title. He edged Lampa 7-6(5), 7-6(0) in the Round of 16, and then Cerny 6-7(4), 7-6(4), 10-6 in the semifinals. Turudic and partner Zach Katz also defeated the duo of Milo Hauk and Cerny 8-6 in the quarterfinals at the same event, eventually winning the Flight A doubles title.