PHILADELPHIA – The non-conference matches are over, and all the preparation and hard work boils down to seven critical Ivy League matches, as the University of Pennsylvania opens its Ivy schedule this Saturday at home versus No. 58 Princeton.
The Quakers (7-4) and Tigers (6-7) will matchup at 1 p.m. in the first Ivy League match of the spring season.
Penn’s slate for league play begins with Princeton, followed by a home weekend with Yale and Brown, then on the road for a weekend at Harvard and Dartmouth, before a road match with Cornell, ending the season at home versus Columbia.
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SCOUTING PRINCETON: The 58th-ranked Tigers began the spring with five straight losses at the hands of Virginia Tech, Stanford, Syracuse, Saint Mary’s College, and Dartmouth playing in the ITA Kickoff Event and ECAC Championships. Since they’ve won against Cornell, Boise State, Memphis, Long Beach State, and San Diego State, and have lost to DePaul and Oklahoma State. Nine of Princeton’s 13 opponents have been ranked. The Tigers are led by senior Lindsay Graff in the No. 1 position and junior Amanda Muliawan in the second position.
THE SERIES WITH PRINCETON: Penn will be looking to turn the tide in the series with Princeton. The Quakers trail the overall matchup 15-24, and have dropped the last six matches, lasting winning at Princeton by a 5-2 score in 2008. The Tigers defeated the Red and Blue last season, 5-2.
LAST TIME OUT VERSUS GEORGETOWN: Penn finished its non-conference schedule with a 5-2 win over Georgetown. The team began the match by winning the doubles point versus the Hoyas, claiming all three matches. The No. 1 duo of Sonya Latycheva and Kana Daniel won 8-2, while Ria Vaidya and Lina Qostal won 8-5, and Alexandra Ion and Luba Vazhenina won 8-6. Leading the way for the Quakers in singles matches were sophomores Kana Daniel and Luba Vazhenina. Both completed their matches rather quickly, Daniel with a 6-0, 6-3 victory, and Vazhenina with a 6-0, 6-4 win. Following the early individual wins, was freshman Lina Qostal with a 6-1, 6-3 win in the No. 4 position, while senior Alexandra Ion won in three sets in the fifth position.
FOR PENN IN THE TOP SPOT: Senior Sol Eskenazi has played every match of her Penn career in the No. 1 singles and doubles position. Drawing the opponents toughest players, in 2015 she has an individual record of 4-3 and a doubles record of 6-1.
FINDING HER GROOVE: Penn’s Sonya Latycheva has come into her own towards the top of Penn’s lineup. She has solidified her position playing in any spot No. 1-3, beginning the spring 7-3 individually. The strong spring is a great sign for the Quakers, and a dramatic difference from a fall season, that saw Latycheva finish 1-7 in individual play.
PENN VERSUS THE IVIES IN 2014: Last season, the Quakers finished 1-6 in Ivy League play picking up their lone win in the final match of the season, a 5-2 victory over Cornell. Penn fell 5-2 at No. 66 Princeton in the league opener, then fell at Brown 5-2 before being edged in a road match against No. 52 Yale, 4-3. In a home weekend, the Quakers dropped back-to-back matches, 4-3, to Dartmouth and No. 46 Harvard. Penn was defeated 6-1 at Columbia before picking up the victory at home against Cornell.