PHILADELPHIA - After a fall season that saw Penn compete on an individual basis, the Quakers will come together in team competition for the spring portion of their season on Wednesday as they host Drexel University in the Levy Tennis Pavilion at 4 p.m. With five returning starters from a year ago and the addition of five incoming freshman, the Quakers will look to improve upon last season's 4-15 record under second-year head coach Sanela Kunovac.
A huge reason for optimism coming into the season has been the emergence of freshman Connie Hsu. Hsu captured three individual titles during the fall season and advanced all the way to the USTA/ITA Indoor National Championships before dropping a three-set match in the round of 16. Her performance in the fall has certainly not gone unnoticed as she is currently ranked 14th in the country and first in the Northeast Region.
Another freshman who will be looking to make her impact felt is Jaime Yapp-Shing. Yapp-Shing recorded a 5-4 mark in singles, but was also 5-2 in doubles competition, splitting time with partners Ilana Dreyfuss and Alexa Ely.
Ely is another Quaker to keep an eye on this season. She played in the number one position a year ago, but the emergence of Hsu will take some of the pressure off of her. Ely went 5-7 individually in the fall, but made a significant impact in doubles competition as she was 17-4. When Ely and Hsu played together, they recorded a 12-2 record in the doubles competition. Together they captured the Columbia and Cissie Leary Invitational Doubles Championships. Currently the duo is ranked third in the Northeast Region.
The Quakers will also be looking for depth in singles from freshman Lauren Bridges (5-5 fall), junior Daniela DePaoli (4-6 fall), freshman Stephanie Do (4-7 fall), senior Rose Schlecker (4-4 fall), and sophomore Emma Whitfield (5-4 fall).
A year ago, the Quakers were able to defeat Drexel to open up the spring. The Quakers took two of the three doubles matches to claim that point and then captured five individual matches for the 6-1 victory.
Drexel has already competed in two team competitions in the fall, winning both matchups over Rider and Monmouth. The Dragons also sent three individuals and two doubles pairings to compete in Penn's Cissie Leary Invitational during the fall season. Those three individuals went a combined 1-6 during the tournament, while the doubles groups were both eliminated in first round losses.