PHILADELPHIA – After having its home match versus Akron on Friday canceled due to weather, the University of Pennsylvania women’s tennis team will have no issues with snow or cold on its spring break trip to Arizona and Nevada.
The Quakers (5-2) will face top competition over the break beginning with No. 51 St. Mary’s College (5-5) on Sunday, and No. 33 Arizona State (5-2) on Monday. Both matches will take place in Tempe, Ariz. Penn will then travel to Las Vegas, to take on UNLV on Wednesday.
After dropping its first two doubles points of the year, Penn split its two matchups last weekend. The Quakers won five singles matches for a 5-2 win at home over Richmond Saturday, before falling on the road to No. 54 Maryland, 5-2.
On its trip out to Arizona and Nevada, fans can follow the women’s tennis team on Twitter - @PennWTennis and Facebook.
SCOUTING ST. MARY’S: Ranked 51st, the Gaels are 5-5 in the early going of the spring season. Their wins have come over Fresno State, fellow Ivy Princeton, Cal Poly, San Diego State, and Sacramento State. Losses have come against No. 6 California, No. 8 Stanford, No. 4 UCLA, and No. 11 USC, along with UC Santa Barbara. St. Mary’s is led by senior Danielle Flores in the No. 1 position and sophomore Jana McCord in second position.
SCOUTING ARIZONA STATE: The 33rd-ranked Sun Devils will play St. Mary’s on Saturday before facing the Quakers on Monday. Arizona State has won five times thus far, against UC Davis, Northwestern, BYU, Northern Arizona, and San Francisco. The Sun Devils are led by juniors Desirae Krawczyk and Stephanie Vlad.
SCOUTING UNLV: The Rebels are 4-5 early on this spring, with wins over Kansas, Kansas State, Colorado State, and Loyola Marymount. UNLV will face Northern Arizona and UC Riverside before facing Penn on Wednesday. The Rebels are led by senior Santa Shumilina in the first position, and senior Anett Ferenczi-Bako in the second position.
QUAKERS SCHEDULE…RANKED: Penn has not been shy with its schedule early on this spring, preparing for Ivy League play. The Quakers have faced Old Dominion (currently ranked No. 63), Maryland (No. 54 when the match took place, now No. 48), and will now face No. 51 St. Mary’s College and No. 33 Arizona State. There are currently four Ivy teams in the ITA rankings – No. 18 Dartmouth, No. 36 Harvard, No. 55 Columbia, and No. 69 Princeton.
PENN ON THE ROAD AT #54 MARYLAND: Penn dropped the doubles point for just the second time all season, and trailed Maryland early, 1-0. The Quakers held the advantage at the beginning of singles play, winning the first set in four matches. Senior Sol Eskenazi, junior Sonya Latycheva, freshman Lina Qostal, and sophomore Luba Vazhenina each led their individual match early on. Of the four, Latycheva was the only one able to take advantage of the early lead against the Terrapins, winning her individual match in straight sets 6-3, 6-4. In the third position Penn’s Kana Daniel dropped her first set before rallying back to win in three 1-6, 6-2, 6-1 and claim Penn’s only other point.
PENN AT HOME VS. RICHMOND: In the Quakers 5-2 win versus the Spiders, a crucial turning point in the match came in singles play with the overall score tied 2-2. Freshman Lina Qostal, playing in the fourth position, won her first set in a tiebreak and was down 5-2 in her second set before rallying and taking the set, 7-5, and her individual match. Qostal set the tone for the rest of the match with her gutsy performance and spurred the Penn rally. Senior Sol Eskenazi picked up Penn’s first singles win in the No. 1 position with a 6-1, 6-4 victory. Tied 1-1, Richmond took the lead on Penn after sophomore Kana Daniel fell 7-5, 6-2 in the No. 2 position. Freshman Ria Vaidya pushed the overall score back to even, 2-2, winning in straight sets in the third position for the Quakers. After the Qostal match, sophomore Luba Vazhenina sealed the victory with a 7-6(11), 6-3 victory in the fifth position. In the sixth position for the Quakers, senior Alexandra Ion played some of her best tennis of the season, playing smart and aggressive in a 6-7(6), 6-4, 10-3 individual win.
LEADING THE WAY: Penn’s Sonya Latycheva has been a solidifying force in the Penn lineup early on this spring. The junior is off to a 6-0 start in singles play, having played in the No. 1-3 positions. The quick start is a good sign for the Quakers, and a dramatic difference from a fall season that saw Latycheva finish 1-7 in individual play.
DOUBLES POINT STREAK ENDS: Penn began the season winning its first five doubles points of the year. Coming against Temple, FIU, Albany, Old Dominion, and Drexel, Penn saw its streak snapped over the weekend first against Richmond and then versus Maryland. The Quakers were able to overcome trailing 1-0 versus the Spiders, rallying to win 5-2. At Maryland, Penn wasn’t able to overcome falling behind, losing 5-2.